Be Diseased Like the Ancient Egyptians

So my mother gave me this article “Unwrapping Medical Mysteries” from the magazine Parade, and I found it to be something interesting, yet not too dense to write up about tonite. It’s far from a research article, but it’s written in plain English, and enjoyable to read.

Link: http://www.parade.com/health/2010/08/01-unwrapping-medical-mysteries.html

Unwrapping Medical Mysteries

The article starts off with how people always seem to flock to mummies with such excitement when they tour the country. I mean this summer alone, the Cleopatra exhibit opened at the Franklin Institute in Philly, King Tut exhibit donned NYC, and the Academy of Natural Sciences mummy is off on a world tour somewhere (all things I have yet to see).

For a while now, scientists have been taking advantage of mummies because of the way they are preserved, the human body can be observed & studied. The timeline how how they went about it can be seen below:

  1. late 1800’s – X-ray to see under wrappings, identify age & sex
  2. 1970’s – CT scan to provide 3D scans of soft tissue & bones
  3. 1990’s – Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allows the analysis of DNA to learn about the microbes & organisms that lived inside the organs & body parts of mummy or potential pathogenic bacteria that infected them

Apparently, mummies from an Alaskan village may also hold the key to creating a vaccine for a strain of influenza that caused the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

I am a lover first & foremost of Egypt because of the wonderful mythology & history they had provided. I find it to be a very magical & enchanting destination because its so different than any other culture I have been exposed to. Which is why as you may or may not know I plan to study abroad in Egypt for about 3 months in a year. I guess this is my little motivation entry to start that application heh.

And if a ever asked me how a study abroad in Egypt is relevant to medicine or my future field (besides the fact traveling is a wonderful experience) I would simply reply, something I read from a physiology photobook I found in Barnes& Nobles.

The oldest written medical record was actual found in Egypt on a scroll known as the Kahun Gynaecoligcal Papyrus, dating back all the way to 1800 BC, holding about 34 cases.

Take that med school entrance interviewers.

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5 comments on “Be Diseased Like the Ancient Egyptians

  1. improperintegirl says:

    I didn’t know the first written medical records were Egyptian! Thank you for informing me of these things should I ever end up on a trivia game show 🙂

    And one of the things I know about ancient “medical” history is that Plato recorded the first record of a near-death experience. It was a solider named Er, he said he visited the under world and only he was permitted not to drink from the river styx to forget everything.

  2. I love Ancient Egypt ever since I studied it back in Middle School!
    So we should all go to Egypt in the future; ride on camels while heading to the pyramids and tell stories of egyptian mythology.

  3. […] destinations I would like to visit: Italy, Egypt, and […]

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