Navigation Links
'Ice Man' Mummy May Have Been at Risk of Heart Disease

FRIDAY, Aug. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Roaming the high Alps more than 5,000 years ago, the individual whose preserved mummy became famous as the "Ice Man" no doubt had a very tough and active lifestyle.

But all of that may still not have shielded the Ice Man, nicknamed Otzi, from a very modern scourge: heart disease.

A human's genetic risk for atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," appears to be the same today as it was thousands of years ago, a new study finds.

"Our ancestors going back thousands of years show signs of atherosclerosis," explained a team led by author Albert Zink of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen in Italy.

The researchers noted that CT scans show "evidence of calcium deposits associated with atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries of mummies as old as 5,000 years. Even though our human ancestors lived far different lives than we do, their environments and lifestyles were not protecting them against the development of atherosclerosis."

Modern advancements in imaging technology have identified clogged arteries in mummies of various cultures.

But were people living in ancient times also genetically predisposed to heart disease? Zink's team explained that that's been tough to discern because so much genetic material breaks down over centuries.

However, the whole-genome study of the 5,300-year-old glacier-bound Ice Man revealed the mummy was at a genetically increased risk for coronary heart disease.

Specifically, he had a certain genetic mutation that is considered to be one of the strongest genetic predictors of heart attacks, the research team said.

CT scans of the mummy also showed key warning signs of atherosclerosis, such as calcification in several major blood vessels. The study, scheduled for publication in the journal Global Heart, concluded that the Ice Man was genetically at risk for the condition because other known risk factors -- such as being overweight, sedentary and smoking -- were not relevant for people living in this time period.

However, "what is similar between now and then is the human genetic material," the researchers wrote. They say they found genetic variations that work to "predispose the carrier to the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease."

Ancient people were also highly vulnerable to other illnesses, such as infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies and trauma, the Italian group said in a news release from the World Heart Federation. These issues often caused their death before heart disease could impact their health, the researchers noted.

"Until now, the Ice Man is the only ancient human remain in which a genetic predisposition for cardiovascular disease has been detected," Zink's group said, but future work on remnants of DNA in other mummies might reveal just how widespread such vulnerabilities were.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about atherosclerosis.

SOURCE: World Heart Federation, news release, July 30, 2014


Copyright©2014 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. 16th-century Korean mummy provides clue to hepatitis B virus genetic code
2. Incan Girls Mummy Yields Evidence of Respiratory Woes
3. University of Huddersfield and University of Pisa team up to find Peruvian mummy secrets
4. Fit Yummy Mummy: Review Examining Holly Rigsby’s Fitness Program Released
5. Tuberculosis genomes recovered from 200-year old Hungarian mummy
6. Witnessing, Experiencing Traumatic Events May Worsen Heart Disease
7. Risk of suicide and fatal heart attack immediately following a cancer diagnosis
8. Cancer Diagnosis May Raise Odds for Suicide, Heart Attack Death
9. In children born with severe heart defect, surgical management has little effect on neuro outcomes
10. Invasive heart test being dramatically overused, Stanford study shows
11. Heart failure patients with diabetes may benefit from higher glucose levels
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
'Ice Man' Mummy May Have Been at Risk of Heart Disease
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution ... the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these ... disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived from many of ... beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the current issue of ... full issue, click here . , For the American Society of Clinical Oncology ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... Final Cut Pro X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new ... said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a ... fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, ... type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the American ... Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. ... including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , AIR ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... June 26, 2016 Story ... operating models within the health care industry is causing ... efficiency , Deloitte offers a suite of solutions ... issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor resource analysis, revenue ... services facilitate better outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen ... and manufacturing of collagen and mineral based medical ... that Bill Messer has joined the ... further leverage the growing portfolio of oral surgery, ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive team ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016   Bay Area Lyme Foundation ... Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard ... MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and ... the five finalists of Lyme Innovation , ... than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: