Medicine: Slow Death Without Fever

It has been called the secret disease because the progression is slow, steady and silent. Gradually, over a period of many years, atherosclerosis chokes off the flow of life-sustaining blood. The disease, resulting from the buildup of fibrous material, or plaque, in the arteries, has been killing people for centuries. Scientists have found plaque in the arteries of an Egyptian mummy dating from approximately 100 B.C. Leonardo da Vinci described atherosclerosis in his Dell'Anatomia, identifying it as the cause of a "slow death without any fever" that afflicts the elderly. It was not until this century that scientists began to realize...

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