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."
Workers close the sarcophagus of the mummy Hatiay, who lived between 1550 and 1295 B.C., after scanning the mummy for disease. The study revealed that about half of the 52 mummies scanned had calcium deposits indicative of clogged arteries.