Heart Disease Found in Egyptian Mummies

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BY MOLLY BOLAND ANCHOR ALEX HOLLEY You're watching multisource science video news analysis from Newsy N...
BY MOLLY BOLAND ANCHOR ALEX HOLLEY You're watching multisource science video news analysis from Newsy New information in the world of health might prove a common cause of death - Atherosclerosis -- also known as the hardening of arteries, is not just a modern disease. A recent discovery showed the disease has been -- well … hiding under wraps. “It turns out heart disease has been a problem for thousands of years. Recently researchers took a closer look at a 3,500-year-old mummy and found out this Egyptian princess along with more than a dozen other mummies suffered from a buildup of plaque in the arteries.” (KNVX) In today’s world, fatty foods, smoking, and a lifestyle lacking exercise can all lead to heart disease. But for ancient Egyptians, without automobiles, people exercised often. They ate fruits, vegetables and lean meat. But if this same disease was common even in that lifestyle, doctors are wondering if they’re missing something. The LA Times quotes researcher and cardiologist Gregory S. Thomas on the study. “It may be that humans ‘are predisposed to atherosclerosis … that it is part of our genetic makeup.’" Researchers scanned nearly fifty mummies -- about half showed signs of hardening arteries. Almost all of them were from ancient Royal families. Bloomberg quotes cardiologist Randall Thompson on this factor. “The specimens had all been members of the upper class when alive, so they may have suffered from the same higher standard of living that affects humans today. They ate more meat than most of the population and were likely less active than the common laborer of the period...” The Kansas City Star reports most people today - have some form of the condition by their fifties. Egyptians were also more likely to experience Atherosclerosis with age. Cardiologists say infections or malaria could be responsible. Science Magazine explains and quotes one of them... “‘...all that infection might have really revved up the [ancient Egyptians'] inflammatory response,’ … Inflammation helps to remove the agents of infection and promote healing, but older individuals may have paid a steep price for it: high levels of inflammatory response can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.” Scientists say the next step is to scan more mummies from lower classes in Egypt and identify original risk factors of the heart disease and how they’ve changed over time. 'Like' Newsy on Facebook for updates in your news feed Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy