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Issue 125 Autumn 2017

Endocrinologist > Autumn 2017 > Hot topics

The world’s oldest known case of gigantism?

| Hot topics

Gigantism and acromegaly are conditions that have been recorded by physicians throughout history. In this short correspondence, Galassi et al. claim to have identified the world’s oldest known case of gigantism, in a Third Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh who ruled more than 4,700 years ago.

In their study, the team analysed the remains of a man who was 187cm tall, purported to be King Sa-Nakht, who ruled in the Third Dynasty. The skeleton was originally excavated from the Mastaba K2 tomb near Beit Khallaf in Egypt in 1901. By assessing previously recorded measurements of the skull and carrying out a comparison with anthropological databases, as well as reviewing photographs of the skull, the team concluded from the signs of exuberant growth on his long bones that the man probably had gigantism. If confirmed, this would represent the oldest known palaeopathological case of gigantism in the world.

Read the full article in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 5 580–581

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