Mummy in the Machine
An unidentified Egyptian mummy dated back to between 688 and 332 B.C. slides into a CT scanner as part of a recent study of ancient disease.
The mummy was among 52 from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo subjected to medical scanning by a joint U.S.-Egyptian team. The tests revealed that almost half of the dead have clogged arteries associated with a condition called atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
One of the mummies, a princess who died about 3,500 years ago, is now the oldest known case of the arterial disease, the researchers say.
"If the princess was in a time machine and I was to see her now, I would tell her to lay off the fat, take plenty of exercise, then schedule her for heart surgery," said study co-leader Gregory Thomas, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Irvine. "She would require a double bypass."
Read more about the Egyptian princess, the oldest known sufferer of heart disease >>
—With reporting by James Owen
Egypt Mummy Pictures: Scans Show Ancient Heart Disease
Recent scans of 52 mummies revealed at least half the dead had clogged arteries—including a princess with the oldest known heart disease.