Commentary - International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology (2022) Volume 17, Issue 10

Mummy Remains Refute Antiquity of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ronald A Asherson*

Rheumatic Diseases Unit, University of Cape Town, Health Sciences Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

*Corresponding Author:
Ronald A Asherson
Rheumatic Diseases Unit, University of Cape Town, Health Sciences Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

Received: 01-Oct-2022, Manuscript No. IJCR-22-159; Editor assigned: 03-Oct-2022, PreQC No. IJCR-22-159(PQ); Reviewed: 17-Oct-2022, QC No. IJCR-22-159; Revised: 21-Oct-2022, Manuscript No. IJCR-22- 159(R); Published: 28-Oct-2022; DOI: 10.37532/1758-4272.2022.17(10).159-160



Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families. Now a new study published, refutes that claim, finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a member of a group of inflammatory conditions called the spondyloarthropathies that cause arthritis and affect up to 2.4 million Americans over the age of 15 according to the ACR. The most common in this rheumatic disease family is ankylosing spondylitis, which causes pain and stiffness in the back, and may lead to bony fusion of the spine [1]. Studies estimate that ankylosing spondylitis affects about one percent of the population, primarily affecting young men.

In DISH the hardening of ligaments along the vertebrae of the spine cause stiffness in the upper back and can affect other joints in the body. While DISH may appear similar to ankylosing spondylitis, it is a degenerative and not an inflammatory type of arthritis, affecting those 60 years of age and older.

Previous research using x-ray images claimed that three Pharaohs (Amenhotep II, Ramesses II, and his son Merenptah) displayed evidence of ankylosing spondylitis. The current study used computed tomography (CT), a more sophisticated imaging technology, to study thirteen royal Egyptian mummies from 1492- 1153 BC to determine if signs of ankylosing spondylitis or DISH were present [2].

A diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis was ruled out due to the absence of joint erosion in the lower back and pelvis area (sacroiliac joints) or fusion of sacroiliac joints or of small joints between the vertebra in the spine (facet joints) on the CT scans of the mummies [3]. Signs of DISH were found in four Pharaohs (Amenhotep III - 18th Dynasty; Ramesses II, his son Merenptah, and Ramesses III - 19th to early 20th Dynasties).


The mummies of Ancient Egypt offer a wealth of information regarding the history of disease. In studying these ancient remains we may be able to uncover the pathway of diseases - like ankylosing spondylitis or DISH - and how they might impact modern populations [4,5]. The process of mummification could induce spinal changes, which should be considered when investigating diseases in ancient remains.



Conflict of Interest

There is no conflict of interest.


  1. Pennebaker JW, Francis ME, Booth RJ. Linguistic inquiry and word count: LIWC 2001. Mahway: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 71, 2001 (2001).
  2. Google Scholar

  3. Merisavo M, Raulas M. The impact of e‐mail marketing on brand loyalty. J Prod Brand Manag (2004).
  4. Google Scholar, Crossref

  5. Bellotti V, Ducheneaut N, Howard M et al. Quality versus quantity: E-mail-centric task management and its relation with overload. Human-Computer Interaction 20, 89-138 (2005).
  6. Google Scholar

  7. Thornton P, Houser C. Using mobile phones in English education in Japan. J Comput Assist Learn 21, 217-228 (2005).
  8. Google Scholar

  9. Belz JA. Social dimensions of telecollaborative foreign language study. Language learning Technol 6, 60-81 (2002).
  10. Google Scholar

Awards Nomination 20+ Million Readerbase

Select your language of interest to view the total content in your interested language

Google Scholar citation report
Citations : 5529

International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology received 5529 citations as per Google Scholar report

International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology peer review process verified at publons

Indexed In