Friday, May 27, 2011

Diseases of Egypt

If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.  Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
Deuteronomy 28:58-60

An Egyptian mummy going under a CT scanner that produces 3D images of the body’s internal organs from a series of two-dimensional X-ray images.

An Egyptian mummy in the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy with hands and nails intact

The ancient Egyptians have been a wonder to the western world.  If you ever walk through the British Museum, the Egyptian rooms with their archaic artefacts is the exhibition that always draws the largest crowds of people.  The Egyptians took great lengths in preserving their culture more than any other civilization known to man.  Everything they had, from coffins to temples, to their papyri, had intricate detailed accounts of their pagan philosophy.  They strongly believed in the afterlife and in the immortality of the soul and they embalmed their dead loved ones (and even animals) in the belief that they would reach heights of immortality.  Some of the excavated mummies from ancient tombs are almost intact and it is amazing to see that over thousands of years, these human bodies still have their hands, nails, noses and their hair on their head.  There is a reason for this.  
Mummification as a chemical process had been taken to such a state of refinement in Egypt that in March, 1963, biologists at the University of Oklahoma confirmed that the skin cells of the ancient Egyptian princess Mene were capable of living.  The ancient Egyptians, after thousands of years, had come to the threshold of physical immortality.  The chemical formula by which this remarkable state of preserving Princess Mene was achieved had been arrived at through centuries of experimentation. (1)

Paleoepidemiology is the study of how diseases have evolved since ancient times.  One of the pioneers in this field is a British Egyptologist Professor Rosalie David, who has been the head of the Manchester Research Project since its birth in 1973. She is Director of the KNH Centre for Biological and Forensic Studies in Egyptology at the University of Manchester and Director of the International Mummy Database and Director of the Schistosomiasis Investigation Project.  She headed Britain’s first modern mummy autopsy and she does lectures all around the world on ancient Egypt.  From analysing Egyptian mummies through endoscopes, the science of DNA, X-rays, autopsies and extracting tissues, Egyptologists have discovered that the ancient Egyptians suffered with a number of different diseases such as arthritis, bronchitis, tuberculosis, genital herpes, Chlamydia trachomatis, gonorrhoea, pneumonia; parasites such as malaria, tapeworm, cystercercosis and trichinella spiralis caused by eating pork, different skin diseases, haemorrhoids, artificial calcification, etc.  When we look at the diseases that are afflicting man today, nothing much has changed.  Malaria is more confined to tropical regions but arthritis, tuberculosis and bronchitis is common everywhere and most of these diseases are due to our modern lifestyles.

…the fact that about 30 percent of Egyptian mummies show Harris lines suggests a very poor state of childhood and adolescence in ancient Egypt. (2)

But though the ancient Egyptians were excellent embalmers, astronomers, geographers and temple builders, modern technology has unearthed startling evidence that proves that they were just as unhealthy as those in the Western World today.  Modern research has shown that ‘hardening of the arteries, or atheosclerosis, is not a new disease.  Egyptian mummies, some as old as 3500 years, were found to have a condition when they were placed in a CT scanner.  It’s likely that diet contributed to the Egyptians’ rather clogged blood vessels – eating meat from cattle, ducks and geese – was not uncommon at this time.’ (3) An intricate observation of Egyptian mummies shows that many of them died from  heart disease.

Egyptians living 3,500 years ago had signs of heart disease proving that the condition is not a phenomenon on the modern age, a conference has been told. 

Scans of 3,500 mummies showed the ancient Egyptians had heart disease. Scans taken of Egyptian mummies shows they had furring of the arteries when they died, experts said. A build-up of fat and calcium in the blood vessels causes heart attacks and strokes and has been associated with the modern high fat diet and lack of exercise. Experts scanned 20 mummies at the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo, Egypt and found blood vessels and heart tissue in 13 of them. 
A build-up of fatty plaque was definitely present in three and a further three had probable signs of the condition, the team from the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City said. 
The mummies dated from 1981 B.C. to 364 A.D and all were of high social status. The build ups were more significant in the mummies judged to be 45 or older when they died. 
The findings were presented to the American Heart Association scientific meeting in Orlando, Florida, by Prof Randall Thompson, professor of medicine, who said that atherosclerosis, or furring of the arteries, is not only a disease of modern man, but was present and not unusual in humans living 3,500 years ago. (4)

Heart disease has been detected in ancient Egyptian mummies, suggesting that Britain's biggest killer is not just a phenomenon of modern life.
Scientists made the discovery after taking hospital X-ray scans of 22 mummies dating back to more than 3,500 years.
They identified hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which means a build-up of fatty materials such as cholesterol, in blood vessels.

Scientists look for evidence of heart disease by taking an X-ray of the mummified remains of Esankh who lived in the third Intermediate period (1070-712 BC)
Despite their age, 16 of the mummies at the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo had heart and blood vessel tissue that could be analysed.
Of these, nine showed evidence of atherosclerosis. Some mummies had calcification in up to six different arteries.
One mummy had evidence of a possible heart attack but scientists were unsure if it had been fatal. Nor could they tell how much these ancient Egyptians weighed - mummification dehydrates the body.
Researcher Dr Randall Thompson said the findings suggested that modern risk factors - such as fast food, smoking and lack of exercise - were not the only causes of heart disease.

Djeher, a male mummy, lived in the Ptolemaic era (304-30 BC). He was one of 22 mummies to be scanned for evidence of heart disease and hardening of the arteries
'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.'
The mummies were of high social-economic status, and many served in the court of the Pharaoh or as priests or priestesses.
The oldest mummy to show signs of heart disease was Lady Rai, a nursemaid to Queen Ahmose Nefertari who died around 1530 B.C. - 200 years before King Tutankhamen.
'Rich people ate meat, and they did salt meat, so maybe they had hypertension (high blood pressure), but that's speculation,' Dr Thompson said.
Fellow researcher Dr Samuel Wann added: '[With modern diets] we all sort of live in the Pharaoh's court.' (5)

Heart disease is also the number one cause of deaths in the United States, England, Canada and Wales and it is mainly due to the unhealthy lifestyles and diets of those in the West.  In the past couple of years research has shown that in the United States and Britain, people’ diets are absolutely appalling and this has led to people being overweight, a massive increase in diseases and also a huge loss of human life.

The average adult eats too much salt, saturated fat and added sugar and not enough fruit and vegetables.  Health Minister Ivan Lewis said: ‘Obesity is one of the great challenges facing both the NHS and our society.’  Being overweight increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and conditions such as arthritis and infertility.  Bringing the nation’s diet in line with nutritional guidelines would cut the number of deaths linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Obesity rates have trebled in the past 20 years.  Nearly a quarter of adults and a tenth of children are classed as obese.  The cost of obesity on state funding has been estimated at £7 billion.  Cutting excess saturated fat and sugar intakes could mean 7,000 deaths being avoided a year. (6)   
 About 100,500 new cases of cancer are caused by obesity every year, according to the most comprehensive attempt ever to estimate the cancers attributed to extra weight. “Several other types of cancer – liver, multiple myeloma and certain leukemias – have been linked to obesity in some studies, but this needs confirmation”, says Michael Thun, emeritus vice president of epidemiological research of the American Cancer Society.  Overall, about one-third of U.S. adults are obese, roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight.  Obesity also increases a person’s risk of diabetes, heart disease and other diseases.  To lower your risk of cancer: Lose weight, increase physical activity and eat healthier, says Anne McTiernan, director of the Prevention Center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. (7)   
The council is very simple ‘lose weight’ and ‘eat healthier’ and that would greatly help reduce the huge loss of human life and the huge cost in the budgets to maintain people’ unhealthy lifestyles.  In Great Britain there seems to be a health conscious revival, spearheaded by TV chef Jamie Oliver, but in the U.S. as well as being surrounded by a vast chain of fast food joints, the U.S. media has been the one that has played a pivotal role in North Americans unhealthy diets.  After WWII businesses wanted to sell their products and they needed a method of how to get people to buy them.  After the Great depression and the war, people were very cautious and not willingly to part with their money, so the television was strategically designed in houses in the suburbs where the living room faced the kitchen and the housewife could now do the cooking and watch television as well.   The consumers could now endlessly bombard people with their products, using the most powerful medium in the world to affect the behavioral patterns of society, as an effective tool as an investigative journalist has observed.

‘Bombarded by junk-food television commercials over the years, Americans, especially younger ones, changed their eating habits dramatically.  Compared to the pre-TV days of the 1940s, per capita consumption of vegetables, fruits, and diary products was down 20 to 25 percent by the mid-1970s, while consumption of cakes, pastry, soft drinks, and other snacks was up 70 to 80 percent.  Television advertising campaigns transformed “soda pop” from something consumed at ball games and picnics to a beverage drunk daily with almost every meal and between meals, complete with “family size bottles” bottles.  In 1961, after years of television ads, annual soft-drink consumption was up to 128 bottles per capita.  By 1981, following a still more intense media blitz, it rose to 412.3 bottles per person.’ (8)

Studies have also shown that people of African descent living in Western countries, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom suffer from some of the most terrible illnesses in the Western hemisphere according to their spicy diets. In the October 2010 edition of Ebony magazine, modern research has revealed that African-Americans have ‘serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity’ (9) as well as also leading out in ‘heart disease, cancer, stroke, liver disease, highest rates of hypertension, high blood pressure and hypoglycemia.’ (10) Across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom there is not much of a difference between the Afro-Caribbean community and the African-Americans. The University College London and Heart Campaign presented their finds to the British Medical Journal.

'Britain's Afro-Caribbean population are putting their health at risk because popular traditional meals can contain as much as 38 packets of crisps, researchers say.  'staggering amounts of salt were found in dishes such as jerk chicken and stewes, served in African and Caribbean restaurants, a survey found.
'This could explain the high blood pressure, stroke and cardiovascular complications in people of black African descent,' said Dr Derin Balogun of University College London.
Most of the salt in Afro-Caribbean dishes is added in cooking and at the table.  This is contrast to the rest of the Western world where 80 per cent of salt intake comes from processed foods, according to Consensus Action on Salt and Health.  Black people of African descent living in Britain are three to four times more likely to have high blood pressure than the white population.  They have also been shown to have double the stroke mortality.' (11)

We should learn from the past and not have the unhealthy diets as the Egyptians did to reduce disease. The diseases of Egypt that God said He would afflict upon the children of Israel if they rebelled against Him seem to be afflicting mankind today, especially in the Western Hemisphere.  If only man would be obedient to the council of heaven and its health laws, it would greatly reduce the high number of diseases that people are being afflicted with. 

Source: (1) They Came Before Columbus p.158 by Ivan Van Sertima; (2) Mummies, Diseases and Ancient Culture p.39 edited by Aiden Cockburn, Eve Cockburn, Theodore A. Reyman; (3) BBC Focus February 2010; (4); 
(5); (6) METRO, Friday, January 4th 2008; (7) USA TODAY, Fri/Sat/Sun. Nov. 6-8, 2009; (8) MAKE BELIVE MEDIA The Politics of Entertainment pp. 8, 9 by Michael Parenti; (9) EBONY, October 2010; (10) Drugs Masquerading as Foods pp. 3, 10 by Suzar; (11) METRO, Thurssay, February 3, 2011 

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