Monday, March 11, 2013

Atherosclerosis evident in four ancient populations, including hunter-gatherers

Atherosclerosis evident in four ancient populations, including hunter-gatherersCT scans of mummies from four geographical regions across a period of 4000 years suggest that atherosclerosis was more common in ancient populations than previously believed. Studying individuals from ancient Egypt, ancient Peru, ancestral Puebloans of southwestern America, and hunter-gatherers from the Aleutian Islands, researchers were able to identify atherosclerosis in more than one-third of the mummified specimens, raising the possibility that humans have a natural predisposition to the disease. "Our findings greatly increase the number of ancient people known to have atherosclerosis and show for the first time that the disease was common in several ancient cultures with varying lifestyles, diets, and genetics, across a wide geographical distance and over a very long span of human history," according to the researchers. "These findings suggest that our understanding of the causative factors of atherosclerosis is incomplete and that atherosclerosis could be inherent to the process of human aging." The study is published March 10, 2013 in the Lancet to coincide with a presentation here at the American College of Cardiology 2013 Scientific Sessions

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