A new study published in the Lancet shows that atherosclerosis is not simply a modern scourge but was present in ancient mummies.
The fascinating study, entitled "Atherosclerosis in the ancient world" was published in the Lancet and presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology in San Francisco.
CT scans of 137 mummies up to 4,000 years old from Egypt, Peru, southwest America, and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, revealed 34 percent "showed signs of definite or probably atherosclerosis" the BBC reported.
The findings challenge beliefs that heart disease is a modern condition. Prior studies had shown heart disease prevalent in Egyptian mummies from elite groups, presumed to have eaten a high-fat diet, but the Lancet study shows atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) to be common in pre-industrial, pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer communities.
TVNZ reported Caleb Finch, a senior author of the Lancet study, said "It looks to be the case that this (atherosclerosis) is an ancient condition of human population before the modern world and may in fact have been part of our species' aging."