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      The Kidney in Ancient Egyptian Medicine: Where Does It Stand?

      a , b

      American Journal of Nephrology

      S. Karger AG

      Mummy, Medical papyri, Sounou, Symptomatology

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          Abstract

          Driven by their deep-seated desire for eternal life in a healthy body, ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to begin collecting and recording medical lore and medicinals that were effective for a healthy body. With its religious origins, medical care was initially provided by priests, but evolved over time into an independent discipline practiced by the swnw (sounou) or physician. What has been preserved of their knowledge in extant medical papyri reflects the great capacity of Egyptians for practical achievement in treating symptoms, but lacks the abstract thought that was to come with the advent of the more rational Greek medicine. The number of prescriptions and incantations for the management of urinary disorders (hematuria, retention, frequency, infection) and dropsy that are mentioned in extant medical papyri likely reflect the frequency with which these problems were encountered. Urine was thought to be formed in the region of the bladder, by a process considered akin to purification. Available studies on preserved mummies indicate that kidney disease was not uncommon. Whether a functional role of the kidney was appreciated at all is highly doubtful. On the other hand, the available evidence suggests an awareness of the kidney (ggt) to which was ascribed a mythological role that may well account for why the kidneys and the heart were the only organs not removed during the process of mummification.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          AJN
          Am J Nephrol
          10.1159/issn.0250-8095
          American Journal of Nephrology
          S. Karger AG
          978-3-8055-6855-5
          978-3-318-00128-0
          0250-8095
          1421-9670
          1999
          April 1999
          23 April 1999
          : 19
          : 2
          : 140-147
          Affiliations
          aCairo University Pediatric Hospital, Cairo University, School of Medicine, Cairo, Egypt; bDepartment of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex., USA
          Article
          13440 Am J Nephrol 1999;19:140–147
          10.1159/000013440
          10213808
          © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Figures: 6, References: 23, Pages: 8
          Product
          Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/13440
          Categories
          Origins of Nephrology – Antiquity

          Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

          Medical papyri, Symptomatology, Sounou, Mummy

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