A peek into the mysteries of the past: A new study finds that hardening of the arteries was common among ancient Egyptianschallenging the belief that this is a modern condition caused by current-day risk factors such as stress and sedentary lifestyles.

Researcher Michael Miyamoto, who studied the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in 3,500-year-old mummies, says, “Our findings show that atherosclerosis is not strictly a disease of modern humans caused by unhealthy lifestyles. In fact, it is possible that humans have a genetic predisposition to the development of atherosclerosis. Our findings remind us of the value of preventive medicine in eliminating or controlling manifestations of heart and vascular disease.”

Although we think of the ancient Egyptians as leading spiritual lives, perhaps they were not spiritual ENOUGH: Modern patients with coronary heart disease who meditate have nearly 50% fewer heart attacks, strokes, and death rates. A nine-year trial followed 201 African American men and women, average age 59 years with narrowing of arteries in their hearts who were randomly assigned to either practice the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique or to participate in a control group which received health education classes in traditional risk factors, including dietary modification and exercise. All participants continued standard medications and other usual medical care.

Researcher Robert Schneider says the effect of Transcendental Meditation in the trial was like adding a class of newly discovered medications for the prevention of heart disease: “In this case, the new medications are derived from the body’s own internal pharmacy stimulated by the Transcendental Meditation practice.”

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