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Even ancient Egyptians 'suffered heart disease'

world Updated: Nov 18, 2009 13:53 IST

PTI
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It's not only modern humans but even ancient Egyptians suffered heart disease.

Yes, scientists have detected heart disease in ancient Egyptians, after taking X-ray scans of 22 mummies dating back to more than 3,500 years.

An international team has identified hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which means a build-up of fatty materials or lipids such as cholesterol, in blood vessels, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Despite their age, 16 of the mummies at the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo had heart and blood vessel tissue that could be analysed. Of these, nine showed evidence of atherosclerosis.

Some mummies had calcification in up to six different arteries. One mummy had evidence of a possible heart attack but the scientists were unsure if it had been fatal. Nor could they tell how much these ancient Egyptians weighed as the process of mummification dehydrates the body.

Lead scientist Randall Thompson said the findings suggested that modern risk factors -- such as fast food, smoking and lack of exercise -- were not the only causes of heart disease.