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Analysis mummies reveals heart disease is part of aging

Researchers have employed the use of CT scanners to examine mummies from across the world spanning a period of 4,000 years. They found evidence of ancient heart disease all over the world suggesting that it is just a basic part of human aging.

The findings, published Sunday (Mar. 10) in the journal The Lancet, suggest that atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease wherein calcium deposits narrow the arteries, may have been a universal disease in all human societies, and not wholly a result of the modern diet.

“In three different continents and a total of five different sites prehistoric peoples had atherosclerosis,” said study co-author Caleb Finch, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California. While some researchers believed hardening of the arteries was a 20th-century disease, that results from modern overconsumption of fatty, sugary foods, “the generality of our observations suggests it is really a basic part of human aging under all circumstances.”

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Story: Tia Ghose, LiveScience | Photo: Thompson

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