Atherosclerosis is an old disease: Summary of the Ruffer Centenary Symposium, The Paleocardiology of Ancient Egypt, a meeting report of the Horus Study team
Andrus Gerontology Center and Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, United States.Experimental gerontology (Impact Factor: 3.49). 09/2011; 46(11):843-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2011.08.011
A symposium in January 2011 "The Paleocardiology of Ancient Egypt" reviewed old and new evidence for the presence of advanced atherosclerotic lesions in ancient Egyptian mummies. This symposium was dedicated as a Centenary for the pioneering report of Marc Ruffer in 1911 (Ruffer, 1911). Based on CT scans, the Horus Study team concluded that atherosclerosis was present in the ancient Egyptian elites and is not a disease new to the 20th Century. Presentations included radiological data on vasculature, skeleton, and teeth, indicating degenerative diseases and poor health before age 50 in these specimens. Comparisons were made with the Bolivian Tsimane, a 20th Century population living without access to modern medicine with short life expectancy. Further research is needed to develop an epidemiological context for estimating population level prevalence of vascular disease and its risk factors in ancient Egyptian societies.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is often thought of as a disease of modernity, a disease affecting primarily men and a disease primarily affecting members of affluent Western societies. METHODS: We reviewed CT scans for evidence of vascular calcification as a manifestation of atherosclerosis in ancient Egyptian female mummies and compared the results to clinical features of contemporary Egyptian women, who are suffering from an epidemic of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. RESULTS: The common assumption that atherosclerosis is strictly a modern disease which spares women, mainly affecting men, is not true. We report the CT examination of an ancient Egyptian woman who lived more than 3000years ago, finding calcified atherosclerotic plaque in her systemic arteries and other abnormalities probably due to prior myocardial infarction. We also confirmed recent reports of a virtual epidemic of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in contemporary Egyptian women. CONCLUSIONS: Atherosclerosis, both ancient and contemporary, is common in women as well as in men, and is related to both a genetic predisposition and to environmental factors including diet, exercise, obesity and exposure to smoke and other toxins.International journal of cardiology 02/2012; 167(2). DOI:10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.01.082 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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