Clogged arteries in mummies of 3,500 years ago

A case of clogged arteries in the mummy of an Egyptian princess who lived 3,500 years ago has come to light.

Last Updated: Apr 07, 2011, 09:17 AM IST

London: Heart attacks and strokes don`t seem to be the by-products of modern hectic lives, but go far back in time. A case of clogged arteries in the mummy of an Egyptian princess who lived 3,500 years ago has come to light.

Scientists announced the detection of the first known case of atherosclerosis in the mummy of the Egyptian princess, according to the Daily Mail.

It has long been known that ancient Egyptians suffered from plaque build-up in the arteries, but a University of California, Irvine-led study has concluded that the condition was far more prevalent than previously thought.

Said Gregory Thomas of the varsity: "Atherosclerosis is widespread among modern day humans and, despite differences in ancient and modern lifestyles, we found that it was rather common in ancient Egyptians of high socio-economic status living more than three millennia ago."
Researchers performed computerised tomography (CT) scans, with particular attention to the cardiovascular system, on 52 Egyptian mummies to determine whether they had atherosclerosis.

Of the 44 that had detectable arteries or hearts, 45 percent had calcium build-ups in their vessel walls.
The oldest among them was Lady Rai, an Egyptian princess who lived between 1580 and 1550 BC. The researchers believe she probably died when she was in her early 40s.

But even though ancient Egyptians ate a leaner diet, and obviously did not smoke cigarettes, they ended up with the same disease as modern humans.

PTI