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.


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.


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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