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January 1952


AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1952;65(1):20-34. doi:10.1001/archderm.1952.01530200024003

AS EARLY as the Ancient Egyptian Empire, about 3500 B.C., medical men were held in high esteem in Egypt. During the reign of King Josher of the 3d Dynasty (2700 B.C.), Imhotep, a man who had distinguished himself as an architect and physician, was divinified posthumously as the son of Sekhmet, the Goddess of Medicine.1

Hieroglyphic inscriptions and engravings indicate that many of the diseases from which the Ancient Egyptians suffered are those which still afflict their descendants. Among the diseases mentioned are leg ulcers, the "Nile boil," hematuria (probably bilharziasis), and leprosy. Elephantiasis of the lower extremities can be recognized in the statue of Pharoh Menthuhotp (2000 B.C.). The swelling involves both feet and the legs to just above his knees.2

Archeologists have found fairly definite remnants of the existence of tuberculosis, evidenced by Pott's disease in the spine of a priest of the 21st Dynasty

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