Mystery, Medicine and Mummies-BBC World Service

Listen to Professor Randall Thompson speaking of research undertaken on Egyptian mummies to determine information on ancient atherosclerosis

World Service - broadcast 3 April 2013

"Four years ago some heart specialists were in the Cairo Museum looking at the mummies when they read a plaque saying that one pharaoh had atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. The American cardiologists then decided to scan the mummies and study whether this disease was present in ancient Egyptians. They found that many ancient Egyptian mummies did have the signs of disease that we would tend to associate with a modern lifestyle, but critiques said that this was only because these were mostly pharaohs who did not exercise much and ate fatty foods. So was it their unhealthy lifestyles causing their problems or was atherosclerosis a more democratic disease? Professor Randall Thompson, from Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in the USA, decided to examine mummies from three other parts of the world to check. The results were recently published in the medical journal The Lancet." - BBC World Service 


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