THE first known case of clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, has been found in the mummy of an Egyptian princess, a study presented at a major US cardiology conference says.
Researchers have long known that ancient Egyptians suffered from plaque build-up in the arteries that supply the heart, but the latest finding suggests the syndrome may be more prevalent, and mysterious, than previously thought.
''Commonly, we think of coronary artery or heart disease as a consequence of modern lifestyles, mainly because it has increased in developing countries as they become more Westernised,'' said Gregory Thomas of the University of California, Irvine. ''These data point to a missing link in our understanding of heart disease, and we may not be so different from our ancestors.''
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Researchers performed computerised tomography (CT) scans on 52 Egyptian mummies to determine whether they had atherosclerosis. Of the 44 that had detectable arteries or hearts, 45 per cent had calcium build-ups in their vessel walls.
The oldest was an Egyptian princess who is thought to have lived between 1580 and 1550 BC, and probably died when she was in her early 40s, researchers believe.
Even though ancient Egyptians ate a leaner diet and did not smoke cigarettes, they ended up with the same disease as modern humans.
But that does not mean people should disregard modern research, said the co-author of the study, Adel Allam of al-Azhar University in Cairo. ''Recent studies have shown that by not smoking, having a lower blood pressure and a lower cholesterol level, calcification of our arteries is delayed,'' he said.AFP
via Clogged arteries found in mummy.