Aerden (aerden) wrote,

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Medical History - Egyptian Rulers

Last night, I watched the Discovery Channel's documentary on the murder of Tutankhamen. It revealed that Tut suffered from scoliosis and a condition called Klippel-Feil Syndrom, which is a fusion of the cervical vertebrae, rendering the patient unable to turn his head from side to side.

In some ways, this was a surprise, because Tut has always been presented on TV shows before as the splendid, golden pharoah in the full bloom of young adulthood. In other ways, it made perfect sense, considering the odd medical condition that Akhenaten, Tut's father, had.

I got curious about Klippel-Feil Syndrome and decided to do some Web searches. Turns out that Tut and Akhenaten (along with Mary, Queen of Scots) seem to have had Marfan's Syndrome, a condition that causes elongation of the long bones and cardiovascular problems, such as aortic aneurysms. Abraham Lincoln also had this disorder, but it looks as if his was far less severe than Tut's or his father's.

During the course of my reading, I found details of the autopsies and ex-ray exams performed on Tut's two unborn daughters. One had spina bifida and something called Sprengel's Syndrome; the other had osteogenesis imperfecta (like Mr. Glass in the movie Unbreakable) and anencephaly. She was also an achondroplastic dwarf.

::shakes head:: Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamen should never have been allowed to have children together. They were both children of Akhenaten (half-siblings), and it looks like Akhenaten's genes were lethal, when carried by both parents.

What baffles me is, why didn't the ancient Egyptians figure this out and abandon the practice of familial inbreeding? They had brilliant physicians, back then, at least when it came to trauma treatment. Surely, any healer as good as the one who wrote the Edwin Smith Papyrus could figure out that some diplomatic outbreeding needed to happen. ::sigh::

I don't know whether it was a church and state issue, or what. As far as I know, the religion did tend to encourage the divine to marry the divine. But geeze!

I read up on osteogenesis imperfecta. There is actually a support organization website for it. That many people have the condition. I hope I keep that in mind, the next time I start wallowing in self-pity over my eyesight. I have it a LOT better than many other people. I can pound my computer keyboard as if I were playing a piano and not risk breaking my fingers. When I bump into a table, I don't break my hip. ::shakes head again::

I needed this kick in the ass.

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