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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 13, 2012

THE DISEASES OF THE EARLY EGYPTIANS

JAMA. 2012;307(22):2354. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3030

On several previous occasions we have referred to the interesting studies on the pathology of ancient Egypt, as disclosed by the studies of mummies and skeletons from tombs and excavations which are being made in the medical school at Cairo, especially by Drs. Elliott Smith and Marc Armand Ruffer.1 These have disclosed many points of identity of the diseases of from two to four thousand years ago and the diseases of the present day, as well as noteworthy differences. Renal and vesical calculi were common, and evidence of bacterial infections has been made out in some bodies. Malignant disease, gout, leprosy, infantile paralysis and appendicitis seem to have existed in the days of the Pharaohs, while arteriosclerosis was common then as now.

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