Remember about a year ago the report that hardening-of-the-arteries was found in Egyptian mummies? The heart arteries were also involved. Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon is officially the first person in history diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
This finding is noteworthy in view of the common view that atherosclerosis is a disease of modern civilization (usually referring to the last one or two hundred years).
You’ll find more details at this May 17 post at CardioBrief.
We’ll know more if these researchers ever publish their findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
3 responses to “Egyptian Mummies with Atherosclerosis in the News Again”
I’ve often heard the theory that one reason we had a rise in the heart disease stats after WWII was because of better diagnostic procedures and more autopsies, rather than a true rise in the incidence.
The article does state that the Egyptians ate a diet low in animal protein and high in fruits and vegetables, with “bread and beer the dietary staples.” I’m not sure that’s really a Mediterranean diet as the lede promises. It sounds to me like a diet higher in carbs and probably lower in good fats than the diet followed by 20th century Italians.
I like the part at the end where they speculate that the Princess probably had more meat and butter than commoners; its a classic example of circular reasoning.
Interesting points, Frank.
Indeed, it’s difficult to compare disease rates between centuries (even half-centuries) because of changes in diagnostic techniques. Even modern death certificates aren’t as accurate as many would expect. For example, diabetes is often listed as the 8th (or 11th?) most common cause of death: I rarely write that as a cause of death. People with diabetes typically die of the same things as everyone else (coronary heart disease, strokes, infections, chronic lung disease, trauma, suicide, etc).
Ancient Egyptians did have access to meat, though Thomas says their diet consisted mostly of grains, fruits and vegetables.