Atherosclerosis in Ancient Mummies Across the Globe: Lessons Learned About a New World Disease From Our Old World Ancestors

This event last occurred Jan. 31, 2019

Using CT scanning, the physician/anthropologist HORUS research team found atherosclerosis in mummies from all six different cultures they studied. Why would atherosclerosis be this common? How does it differ among cultures? Is it fundamental to aging? What are the implications for etiology, prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis today?

Gregory S. Thomas is the medical director of Cardiovascular Program Development for the MemorialCare Health System.  In this role he serves as clinical professor and director of Nuclear Cardiology Education at the University of California, Irvine.  

Thomas is perhaps best known for his role as the principal investigator of the HORUS mummy research team. The team used CT scanning to discover that the ancient people of Egypt and the Americas had peripheral atherosclerosis. Their findings challenge the conventional wisdom that atherosclerosis is a disease of modern lifestyles. The team published their work in JAMA and The Lancet, resulting in widespread press coverage including two front-page stories in the Wall Street Journal. Their recent CT evaluation of five Greenlandic Inuit mummies will be featured in the National Geographic Explorer series in January 2019.

Thomas received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine, his medical degree from UC San Francisco, and MPH from UC Berkeley. His medical residency was at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, with cardiology fellowship training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Massachusetts General Hospital.

cem seminar

Life Sciences C, Room 202

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Raquel Hernandez
Center for Evolution and Medicine