The Tomb of an Egyptian Doctor

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Medical Discovery News

It’s not every day that archeologists uncover the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh. But on one special day they discovered not the tomb of a pharaoh but the physician to them. Abusir, the great royal cemetery south of Cairo, is the final resting place of Shepseskaf-Ankh, head physician of Upper and Lower Egypt during the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.

This tomb was dated to about 2400 B.C. By this time, the famous pyramids of Giza had already been constructed, so rulers of the Fifth Dynasty built pyramids farther south between 2465 and 2325 B.C. This is the third tomb of a physician discovered so far. They were entombed along with other court officials and high-level priests close to the rulers they served in life, and would continue to do so in death, according to Egyptian beliefs of the afterlife.

Shepseskaf-Ankh was from an elite Egyptian family and also held the title of priest, which was carved on the door of the tomb. It is a relatively large tomb, another indicator of his importance, with an open court and eight burial chambers for him and his family. Continue reading

Do We Smell the Same Thing?

Medical Discovery News

Have you ever wondered if we all sense the world in the same way? Evidence suggests that the sense of smell is highly individualized, based on genetic differences. This could revolutionize scents and food flavors into custom-designed creations for individuals.

Humans have specialized neuronal cells within the lining the nasal cavities, part of what’s called the olfactory epithelium. The surface of these cells, like much of the nasal cavity, is covered with mucus. Odor molecules dissolve into this layer and are detected when they bind to receptors on the neurons. This sets off a string of biochemical events that produces a signal, which travels along the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb of the brain. Then that signal is transferred to different regions of the brain’s cerebrum. Here odors can be distinguished and characterized. These signals are stored in long-term memory, which is linked to emotional memory. That’s why particular smells can evoke memories. This process is quite complex due to the highly evolved sense of smell in humans. Continue reading