Did Agrippina poison the Roman Emperor Claudius? Was General George Armstrong Custer mentally sound when he ordered the 7th Cavalry to attack at the Little Big Horn River? History is full of medical mysteries. After all, everyone has to die of something. But modern medical practitioners have actually found clues to the progress of diseases that still afflict mankind today by studying ancient sources who recorded the afflictions and demise of peoples of the past.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Egyptian doctor thinks Akhenaten Suffered From hyper-pituitarism rather than Marfan's Syndrome

[Akhenaten's] odd features
could not be simply attributed to his foreign descent (Asian blood) from
his maternal side. His undue tall stature and feminine-like appearance has
raised suspicion that he was suffering from a certain medical syndrome.




Mariette,
the famous French Egyptologist argued that Akhen-Aton was castrated, but
such claim was rejected. He was known to have 6 daughters (and possibly at
least one son, his successor, Smenkh-Ka-Ra, from a secondary wife Kiya).


The striking
features found from the study of his statues, pictures as well as his
mummy (if it were truly his) were those of tall stature, unduly long
limbs, elongated skull, long slender neck and long face with a huge
mandible (lower jaw). 


In addition,
his feminine features included gynaecomastia (female-like breasts) and a
wide pelvis with fat hips (the breadth of the pelvis exceeds that of the
shoulders – a characteristic feature of females). A nude statue during
his early reign showed him without genitalia at all.


Moreover, he
showed a redundant belly in all his pictures.


Studies of
the assumed mummy and specifically the ossification of bony epiphyses
(union between the bone shaft and its both ends) have concluded a “bony
age” of 26 years (according to Prof. Eliot Smith) or 23 years (Prof.
Derry). This age does not match his chronological age as estimated by
Egyptologists and historians, which was 37 – 40 years at his death or
disappearance. 


Such
discrepancy obviously is caused by delayed bony ossification, a condition
known in medicine to be due to retarded sexual gland activity. However, no
one can tell for sure that the mummy under such study was truly his.


In 1907,
Prof. Eliot Smith has added to these findings a slight hydrocephalus
(fluid accumulating inside the brain cavity) and epilepsy. Careful study
of the skull has negated the presence of any hydrocephaly. In addition,
epilepsy is known to leave no pathological marks on the skull. It is
diagnosed in the living by measuring the electrical impulses from the
brain. Such claims would certainly be untrue.


Review of
his pictures throughout different stages of his life is also very helpful.
His early reliefs do not show any deformity, while the later ones do. This
denotes a disease presenting later in life, at least not during childhood
or adolescence.


Several
diagnoses were suggested.  The earliest was Florisch's syndrome. 
Other suggestions included Marfan's and Kleinfilter's syndromes as well as
pituitary gland dysfunction.

It is
obvious that Frolisch's syndrome or a liver disease could be easily ruled
out. 


Klienfilter's
syndrome could be ruled out as well. Despite of the skeletal abnormal
features of the disease that resemble Akhen-Aton's condition, as well as
gynaecomastia and small testes, two characteristic features of the disease
are inconsistent. Akhen-Aton was neither obese nor infertile.
Egyptologists give hard evidence that he had had children.


Marfan's
syndrome could not be ruled out. Though the skeletal anomalies are
suggestive, there are no evidence of any cardiovascular or eye
m
anifestations to support this likelihood, even if the mummy found was
his. It was a tradition to remove the eye during the process of
embalmment. Moreover, the feminine-like manifestation would still remain
unexplained.



The most
likely diagnosis of Akhen-Aton's disease is hyper-pituitarism. All
bony abnormalities seem to favor such diagnosis, together with the sexual
ones. A late onset of acromegaly or delayed hypo-gonadism sound to be most
descriptive for his illness.



Further
studies of the mummies and pictures of Akhen-Aton's family might be an
additive. The mummy of his grandfather Yoya (maternal side) shows a
tall man with thick lips and large nose.


The mummies
of his two successors Smenkh-Ka-Ra and Tut-Ankh-Aton (Tut-Ankh-Amon) also
show large skulls. Both are thought by some Egyptologists to be his sons
from a secondary wife, Kiya.


The early
death of a younger brother at young age should also be kept in
consideration.


All reliefs
of Akhen-Aton's family show that this large elongated skull was a common
feature among his daughters, and his wife Nefertiti as well. This has led
some scholars to believe that this skull feature has become a model of
Egyptian art during this time. Nefertiti, the six princesses and all the
court as well were so depicted as a compliment to Akhen-Aton. 


If this
suggestion is untrue, then the possibility of a hereditary disease -
rather than an acquired one - is very likely. - More,
Sameh
M. Arab. MD
.


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