Study: Even ancient mummies had clogged arteries
By MARIA CHENG
AP Medical Writer
LONDON (AP) – Even without modern-day temptations like fast food or cigarettes, people had clogged arteries some 4,000 years ago, according to the biggest-ever hunt for the condition in mummies.
Researchers say that suggests heart disease may be more a natural part of human aging rather than being directly tied to contemporary risk factors like smoking, eating fatty foods and not exercising.
CT scans of 137 mummies showed evidence of atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries, in one third of those examined, including those from ancient people believed to have healthy lifestyles. Atherosclerosis causes heart attacks and strokes. More than half of the mummies were from Egypt while the rest were from Peru, southwest America and the Aleutian islands in Alaska. The mummies were from about 3800 B.C. to 1900 A.D.
That heart disease is a modern product of Western lifestyle has been the medical-nutritional narrative for several decades (maybe slightly longer than I’ve been alive). And now we are learning - “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” - that the narrative is a product of our own lack of knowledge (aka, ignorance) and of Luddism.