Friday, February 22, 2013

Hydrocephalus in Ancient Egypt

I had heard from some sources that King Tutankhamen had Hydrocephalus and Epilepsy. Although I found more sources about him having Epilepsy than Hydrocephalus, there are more sources proving that the main reasons that people thought this are actually untrue. I was going to write about him specifically thinking that I was going to find accurate current information on the subject. Instead I'm going to write about Hydrocephalus in ancient Egypt, but still focus on King Tutankhamen some.

The reason they thought that King Tutankhamen had Hydrocephalus and Epilepsy was because of a hole in his skull that was thought to be from a operation to treat the disorders. But more current studies have proven that it was part of removing his brain after he died, during the mummification process. He did have a larger than normal head, which is usually a obvious sign of Hydrocephalus. Even if it's a sign that he might have had the condition, I couldn't find any sources about what may have caused his large head. Another not so sign that he may have had neurological disorders is something that may not be obvious when it comes to figuring out if he had the disorders or not. King Tutankhamen was disabled with clubbed feet and a cleft palate. While I'm sure most of these of these cases having nothing to do Hydrocephalus the combination of the two made me think of Dandy Walker syndrome. Dandy Walker is a brain malformation that often causes the person to have Hydrocephalus as well. People with Dandy Walker are known to be born with deformities include clubbed feet and cleft palate but not always both, and not limited to them. Once again, it's not a fact because of the limit proof of it but it's still a possibility. Although there's even less information on her, Queen Nefretiti was also thought to have Hydrocephalus. Her large hat was supposedly to hide her large head,because of how ashamed her and her family was that she had it.

In Ancient Egypt Hydrocephalus was thought to be from the result of incest,which was common. So in result the families were usually ashamed of them which explains Queen Nefretiti's situation. Since the shunt system was only designed in the last several centuries, other treatments had to be used and often people with the condition never received treatment and suffered their whole lives if they even made it past infancy. The treatment used in Ancient Egypt was Trepanning. Trepanning is the process of drilling a burr hole in the skull, and it was believed to cure neurological disorders like Epilepsy. With Hydrocephalus it may have been at least some what effective because it would have at least relieved pressure around the brain.

I'm posting links to the sources that I used,for further reading and thanks for reading,

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