Studying the diseases and causes of death of people who have lived hundreds and thousands years ago, is not only of historical interest. It Helps scientists understand the origin and evolution of diseases, which are widespread in our time. Comparing the ancients forms of such diseases with modern, researchers get information about their development, changes in the degree of danger. Scientists expect future information to help the fight against many pathologies. Paleopathology studying diseases antiquity is a constantly evolving science. Today it’s wide computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging tomography (MRI) and DNA analysis, which allowed scientists to achieve substantial progress. Paleopathological studies have helped learn a lot about congenital, traumatic, alimentary (nutritious), cardiovascular, infectious, degenerative and other diseases of antiquity. The most important sources of information for paleopathologists are mummies and bones. Usually after death the body does not persists for a long time. But mummification provides tissue preservation and organs for millennia. Mummies are called surviving from body decomposition. The integrity of tissues and organs is not always provided by embalming techniques – for certain Natural mummification of bodies is also possible. For most the word “mummy” is associated with Ancient Egypt. However known many mummies from other eras and regions: “salt people” in Iran, “marsh people” of peat bogs in northern Europe, the Inca mummies in Peru, Guanache mummies in the Canaries and others. What sick Ramses V Father Paleopathology is considered by Rudolf Virchow himself. But popularized this science and one of the first to look at Egyptian mummies as a doctor Sir Marc Armand Ruffer In his the book “Studies of the Paleopathology of Egypt”, released in 1921, he described three mummies with signs of smallpox. Most ancient of these mummies dated 1580 BC, the youngest was the mummy of Ramses V, who died in 1157 BC. Mummy Ramses V
A photo from open sources After own research of a mummy Ramses V Donald R. Hopkins (Donald R. Hopkins), who participated in World Health Organization smallpox, wrote: “Examination of the mummy revealed a rash in the form of protruding pustules, each in diameter from about 2 to 4 mm, most pronounced on the lower face, neck and shoulders, but also noticeable on the hands. “The diagnosis of Ramses V is still not final but its indirect confirmations look convincing, according to modern experts. Paleopathologists described smallpox in our country. Group scientists from Russia and France discovered the DNA of the pathogen in a three hundred year old mummy found in northeast Siberia. Believed that the case of the disease is related to the epidemic of 1714, the disease could penetrate into Yakutia during the conquest of Siberia. Atherosclerosis – Scourge Ancient Egypt In 2011, a study of 51 mummies in Cairo the Egyptian Museum found in half of them severe atherosclerosis. Today’s widespread spread of this disease, leading to heart attacks and strokes, scientists associate primarily with the nature of people’s nutrition. What was the reason for this incidence in Ancient Egypt, experts find it difficult to say. Among the investigated there was the mummy of the Egyptian princess Yahmes Meritamon, who lived 3,500 years ago and deceased at the age of about 40 years. She was discovered blockage of five large arteries, including those supplying the brain and heart. Two years later, a work describing similar vascular lesions detected by CT in one third of 137 mummies. Eternal infections Malaria and tuberculosis are infections, which cause the greatest concern in the face of increasing resilience to antimicrobials. Their study in historical terms much attention is paid. German scientists in 2008 in the tissues mummies aged 3500 years discovered plasmodium DNA – pathogens malaria. There were studies of 90 mummies found in the ancient city You. “This knowledge can help us develop strategies. prevention of new infections and re-emergence ancient strains of microbes “, – the authors commented on their results. Scientists from University College London found tuberculous bone lesions in skeletons dating back 9,000 years – women and a child discovered on the Israeli coast where in antiquity was the village of Atlit Yam. This is the oldest a well-known case of tuberculosis.
A photo from open sources Era of disease Interesting data was obtained in the study of 200 mummies from the burial of about Egyptian Aswan. Most of them showed signs malnutrition and gastrointestinal infections caused by the use of contaminated water from the Nile. Average duration the life of these people was about 30 years. Many of them related to the upper strata of society, down to the city governors, but it’s obvious that and they had to be on the brink of survival. “Despite the fact that the cultural level of the era was extraordinary, an analysis of human of the remains suggests that their health has always been in danger, “concluded the researchers. In 2011, in Egypt the mummy of a man who somehow got into the female tomb. At the age of about 20, this person died from a very rare disease of Hand-Shuler-Christian. With her in the body multiple tumors develop, its prevalence is 1 case for 560 thousand people. Scientists have studied the mummy using x-ray Rays, CT and MRI. “The consequences of the disease were very painful, they could greatly affect the appearance of a young man, especially in final stage, “the authors reason. In addition, a man could suffer from diabetes insipidus – its Turkish saddle (part of the skull, in which the pituitary gland is located) has been expanded. It speaks of pituitary tumors, which leads to excessive fluid loss with urine and thirst. The mummy of a more mature man related to period of Hellenistic Egypt, prostate cancer was discovered glands with metastases. Interestingly, the signs of cancer in Egyptian Mummies are rarely found. The incidence of cancer in ancient times was lower than now, but it still is the subject of controversy among medical historians and paleopathologists. In the skull mummies dating back to 664-525 BC were trepan holes found. Scientists suggest that craniotomy was performed in an attempt to alleviate symptoms abscess (accumulation of pus) under the orbit. His reason could be sinusitis or feline scratch disease. Another pathology that led to such consequences, there could be a Pott tumor or metastasis. Ulcer the stomach is also not the exclusive possession of our time. Helicobacter pylori (Helicobacter pylori) DNA that causes this disease, were found in the stomach tissue of mexican mummies related by about 1350 AD. Thus, it was shown that this infection appeared among locals before the discovery of America Columbus. Trachoma is a serious infectious eye disease, caused by chlamydia. Over time, chronic inflammation and scarring of the outer shell of the eye leads to blindness. Known that Horace and Cicero suffered from trachoma, it is described by Hippocrates. But scientists found earlier cases in Australia. Skulls aborigines living around 8000 BC found skull lesions characteristic of this disease around the eyes – with soft tissue, the infection passes to the bones. Such defects could appear in some other diseases, but these skeletons were found in parts of the continent where trachoma is most common and Today. A large study of more than 23 thousand skeletons from various UK archaeological sites revealed: In some In regions, up to 80% of the population suffered from sinusitis. Assumed that this due to harmful brewing conditions, tanning of leathers and burning of lime. Some of them suffered from tuberculosis, leprosy (leprosy) and lack of nutrients. Was Another contemporary problem has been discovered. In the 12th century in Britain sugar appeared, which caused a sharp increase in the incidence of caries. People living closer to the coast had fewer carious lesions, scientists attribute this to a higher fluoride content in the diet. Paleopathology constantly presents many interesting facts. For example, this year, scientists reported that in ancient times people with Down syndrome probably were not stigmatized, and Shakespeare incorrectly described by Richard III.
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