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Atherosclerosis | The Paleo Diet

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

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”

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