Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wisdom of the ancients

From the BBC:

Ancients 'had heart disease too'

Hardening of the arteries has been found in Egyptian mummies - suggesting that the risk factors for heart disease may be ancient, researchers say.

Who really thought otherwise? It shows how engrained the 'Social Theory' of disease (© James Le Fanu) has become that anyone would be surprised by this finding. It's one thing to say that modern lifestyle choices are responsible for some cases of coronary heart disease, but quite another to blame them for all cases (thereby assuming that heart disease is a purely modern phenomenon).

Dr Gregory Thomas, from the University of California, said: "While we do not know whether atherosclerosis caused the demise of any of the mummies in the study, we can confirm that the disease was present in many.

"So humans in ancient times had the genetic predisposition and environment to promote the development of heart disease.

"The findings suggest that we may have to look beyond modern risk factors to fully understand the disease."

Good news, if true. However, the BBC report suggests that they're not going to be looking too far beyond them.

The researchers said that while ancient Egyptians did not smoke tobacco, eat processed food or lead sedentary lives, they were not hunter-gatherers.

So, let's see now...


Passive smoking

Processed foods

Sedentary lifestyles

That only leaves one thing...

All the mummies were of high socio-economic status and would have had a rich diet.

Agriculture was well-established and meat consumption appears to have been common among those of high social status.

Of course. Meat!

Thank you, social theory. Biology would be so much more complicated without you.


Kris said...

My guess:tourists have been smoking at his grave and this is the final proof that SHS is even lethal for the dead.

Klaus K said...

Don't forget stress, Chris - working to serve the Pharaoh may have been a tough task.

Anonymous said...

According to the available evidence (using what has been published on the net),the ancient Egyptians had what is these days considered a healthy diet. Even wealthy Egyptians would have eaten meat only occasionally as the fertile area wasn't exactly commodious and farming animals took up crop space. Meat/protein sources would have been in order of availability, Fish, goat, sheep, game(mostly birds) and finally beef. Almost no dairy produce were consumed and the basic diet consisted of wheat porridge sweetened with dates,figs, cabbage, beans, peas, turnips and fish. The wealthy got honey to use as a sweetener.

Soooo has someone got it all wrong?