Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today's Topic- Disease!

Okay, so I'm a huge fan of diseases. Not having them, mind you, but studying them. It's pretty amazing that we don't all die from bacteria, viruses, and prions before we hit puberty. Life in ancient Egypt was hard- the average life expectancy was about 30-35 years old. And there were a lot of diseases waiting to take you down.

Ancient Egypt actually gives history some of the earliest evidence for tuberculosis in the world. The earliest mummy found with spinal TB is actually a Predynastic female from Esna. Spinal TB is pretty cool (unless you have it of course). It actually makes your vertebrae collapse. There is evidence from other mummies and statuettes that spinal TB was present from the Predynastic period on.


This is a sketch of an Egyptian mummy with TB. The front of the vertebrae collapse and fuse together. Once you get to that point, there's no turning back.


This young man is obviously not an ancient Egyptian, but gives you an idea of the seriousness of the disease. I once had a professor tell me you couldn't gauge how painful an osteological pathology (bone disease) was by looking at the bones- for that you'd have to ask the person. I'm going to hazard a guess that anyone with TB didn't have the greatest quality of life.

So, do I have anyone with TB in my novels? No, but I'm looking to inflict polio on someone soon!

34 comments:

Amalia T. said...

I feel bad for the characters on whom you unleash diseases at last! TB definitely looks like an awful, awful thing to suffer from. It's really amazing what kind of information we can get from Mummies though, about history.

Aubrie said...

Oh I feel so bad for that boy in the picture!

L. T. Host said...

Stephanie, you are an awesome and fearful god(dess), lol. Great post-- I didn't even know there was such a thing as spinal TB *shudder*. That poor kid!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. That looks agonizing. My favorite thing about your blog, Stephanie, is that from day to day we never know what we're going to find! :-)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

That looks nasty. I've never given any of my characters a disease - although it might be interesting. Polio - really? Hmmmm....

paulgreci said...

A disease can be a pretty big obstacle on a lot of levels. Good luck exploring the depths.

Dominique said...

Ooh, looking to infect someone with polio sounds so malicious. I almost feel bad for the poor fictional being.

Cynthia Reese said...

Ugh, that does look nasty ... and thank goodness for the modern miracle of medicine! So what did the Egyptians attribute the disease to?

Just Another Sarah said...

Yikes, that looks bad! Diseases are something I really haven't tackled in writing. Good luck with it!

SAMUEL PARK said...

Wow-that is pretty fascinating. There's also something very haunting about the yellowy, faded nature of that photograph. Great post!

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