3500-year-old mummy of an Egyptian princess reveals the first known case of coronary artery disease

Meet Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon, an Egyptian princess who lived between the years of 1580 and 1550 BCE, and is officially the oldest known case of coronary artery disease. A group of researchers from Egypt and the USA has come together and performed CT scans on a number of mummies, and shown that ancient royals had some very modern health problems.

44 of the 52 mummies scanned had recognizable arteries, and of them almost half had arterial atherosclerosis, but only three had evidence of coronary arterial atherosclerosis — though to be fair only 16 had identifiable hearts anyway. Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon was the mostly clearly visible of that trio, and she had atherosclerosis in two of her three main coronary arteries.

While we generally consider heart disease a problem of modern, affluent, sedentary lifestyle, you'd be hard-pressed to describe the life of royalty in any other way. The Princess died in her forties, and would have had a diet far higher in fat and sugar than most, not to mention high levels of salt to preserve the food. There's also evidence to suggest that she had arthritis and scoliosis.