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Mummy scans reveal unhealthy pharaohs

LA JOLLA, Calif., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- High-tech scans of mummies suggest ancient royal Egyptians over-indulged in unhealthy habits that brought on hardening of the arteries.

Researchers scanned 22 mummies using X-ray imaging technology. the CT scans found evidence of arteriosclerosis and arthritis in the remains of pharaohs and other members of the aristocratic class, which is contrary to assumptions that the diseases are relatively new and brought on by smoking, drinking, lack of exercise and other facets of modern lifestyle.

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"Now it turns out atherosclerosis is older than Moses," said Dr. Michael Miyamoto of the University of California-San Diego.

Miyamoto told The San Diego Union-Tribune the condition may have stemmed from the high-salt diets and sedentary lifestyles of the ruling class in ancient Egypt. Common people, he noted, ate more fish and vegetables and got more exercise, which did them well.

"Left to our own devices, it seems humans naturally gravitate toward unhealthier diets and lifestyles," Miyamoto said. "That may be just as important a factor as any genetic predisposition."

The study was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association,

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