Thursday, June 09, 2011

Mummies Show Heart Disease Is an Ancient Problem

(HealthDay News) -- The earliest known case of coronary artery disease has been found in the 3,550-year-old mummy of an Egyptian princess. She lived between 1580 and 1550 B.C., and died in her early 40s, say researchers.

Their investigation with whole-body CT scans found that this wasn't a unique case. About 45 percent of 43 other mummies also had evidence of atherosclerosis, an accumulation of plaque in arteries.

The findings suggest that atherosclerosis has afflicted humans for a long time and isn't just a modern disease. The study was scheduled for presentation Sunday at the annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), held in New Orleans.

"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 westernized," co-principal investigator Dr. Gregory S. Thomas, a clinical professor and director of Nuclear Cardiology Education, University of California, Irvine, said in an ACC news release. Read more...

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