Atherosclerosis In Mummies

Atherosclerosis | The Paleo Diet

CT scan evidence of atherosclerosis in ancient Egyptian mummy, man in his late 40s. Photo Credit:

Hello Professor Cordain –

I am writing a newspaper article about this new study in the Lancet, in which researchers performed CT scans of 137 mummies from four cultures  — Aleutian Indians, ancestral Puebloans, Peruvian Indian and Egyptians, spanning thousands of years.

They found evidence of atherosclerosis in 34 percent of them –  even among those who were likely to have had a hunter-gatherer-early agriculture diet (the non-Egyptian mummies).

I’m writing to see if you’d be willing to comment on what this might say about how much impact we can have on heart disease by modifying diet and lifestyle.

I’d appreciate any help you could provide

Tom Avril

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Tom,

The lead author, Randal Thompson, is a colleague of James O’Keefe, formerly at the Mid America Heart Institute.  James and I have published extensively together over the years. I have been aware of this data for quite some time now, and have written about it in the popular press and why the end result (low CVD mortality) may vary from what (high mortality) we see in modern populations.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Read “Ancient Mummies Reveal a Modern Affliction”

About Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor Emeritus

Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor EmeritusDr. Loren Cordain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research emphasis over the past 20 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. Dr. Cordain’s scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans. He is the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets and has lectured extensively on the Paleolithic nutrition worldwide. Dr. Cordain is the author of six popular bestselling books including The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook, The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Answer, and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, summarizing his research findings.

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