Researchers Discover Evidence Of 7,000-Year-Old Head Surgery

Researchers in North Africa have made another remarkable discovery during excavations in a Neolithic Settlement in Omdurman in Sudan. Experts dug up a skeleton with signs of trepanation – a drilling hole in the skull – dating back 7,000 years.

Girl skull, trepanated with flint tools; neolithic (3500 BC) ; patient survived. Natural History Museum, Lausanne ( CC BY SA 2.0 )
July 13, 2016

Officially, it is the oldest known case of ‘head surgery’ of a skull in Northern Africa.

The stunning discovery was made by a group of researchers led by Dr Maciej Jórdeczka from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology (IAE) PAS in Pozna while they were excavating the ancient Khor Shambat settlement located in the vicinity of the River Nile. The area was believed to have been inhabited since the Khartoum Mesolithic period.

Website reports that the skull showing signs of trepanation dates back to the 5th and 4th millennium BC.

“The dead were then buried within the settlement – it was a widely practiced custom” – told PAP Dr. Maciej Jórdeczka from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology (IAE) PAS in Poznań.

According to experts, the skull belonged to a man who died between the ages 55 and 65, quite an advanced life period for that period in history. The man suffered a number of diseases typical at that age.

Trepanation is a medical procedure that consists of making a hole in the skull for medical purposes and doctors today still practice it.

Interestingly, in ancient times this procedure was done not only for medical purposes but also for magical and religious purposes.,

Experts are unsure as to why this man might have undergone the procedure which resulted in a 2cm-wide hole in the skull.

Dr Łukasz Maurycy Stanaszek, an anthropologist from the National Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, suggests that the man did not survive the procedure and that evidence is the wound which did not heal.

Dr Stanaszekpointed out that the hole had been made expertly and special tools like, knives drill and flint-bone scrapers were used.

“Trepanation is not the only reason why this is an interesting burial” – Dr. Jórdeczka told PAP.

The man’s body was covered in ochre, a reddish material which was used by ancient cultures as a dye among other things. The deceased was positioned in a foetal posture, strongly compressed and his knees were pulled up to his forehead, reports website

“The real treasure for us is the ability to trace the layers formed by human activity over thousands of years. In the case of central Sudan it is an exception – the vast majority of sites, both Mesolithic and Neolithic, has no stratigraphy. Khor Shambat will, therefore, give us a new perspective of the settlement chronology” – added Dr. Jórdeczka.

Evidence of Trepanation of skulls was present in many ancient cultures around the globe. From Asia to the Americas, thousands of years ago, ancient cultures performed highly complicated and ‘advanced’ medical procedures.

Journal Reference:


Ancient Origins

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These Cancer Treatments Often Lead to More Cancer

May 16, 2016

Two of the more common cancer treatments used are chemotherapy and radiation. But do these treatments really treat or cure cancer or do they just cause more problems down the road. Why is it so common for many cancers to ‘reoccur’? Dr. Véreonique Desaulniers discusses some of the common cancer treatments and what they might really be doing to the body. You might be surprised that these cancer treatments often lead to more cancer.

Warning signs you are deficient in magnesium



Magnesium is a very important mineral, the second-most abundant within human cells. Some 60% of it in the human body is contained within the bones, over 25% in the muscles and the rest in soft tissue and body fluids. Learn about the important functions of this essential mineral and some warning symptoms of deficiency.


Magnesium plays a role in activating many enzymes in the body. It also plays a role in maintaining the electrical charges of cells, especially in the nerves and muscles, and in muscle contraction and relaxation. Further, this mineral is involved in cellular functions such as energy production, cellular replication, lipid synthesis and protein formation. It even contributes to bone formation, as it helps regulate calcium metabolism.

Magnesium plays a critical role in heart health, contributing to energy production and heart muscle contraction. By raising the solubility of calcium in urine, magnesium helps prevent the formation of kidney stones. Indeed, magnesium supplementation has been found to help with preventing kidney stone recurrence.

Research also suggests that dietary magnesium intake is directly linked to lung function and the severity of asthma.

Deficiency symptoms

The warning signs that one could be lacking magnesium, some of which are similar to those of potassium deficiency, include:

• heart disturbances
• issues with nerve conduction and muscle contraction
• muscle cramps and spasms
• poor coordination
• weakness
• chronic fatigue
• headaches – including migraines and tension headaches
• appetite loss
• insomnia
• cravings for sweets
• mental confusion
• irritability
• personality changes
• being easily stressed

People with low levels of magnesium are more prone to ailments such as insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, hair loss, swollen gums, high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease and even cancer.

In fact, it has been found that persons who suffered sudden and fatal heart attacks had very low magnesium levels in their hearts. When magnesium levels are low, a spasm of the coronary arteries could take place, affecting the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart — this could then trigger a heart attack.

Persons with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are also commonly found to have low magnesium levels. In addition, women with osteoporosis have been found to have lower bone magnesium levels than those without the condition.

Deficiency causes

Due to poor food choices, with diets lacking in natural whole foods, many people do not actually consume enough magnesium.

Elderly persons, especially those with health issues, are more susceptible to magnesium deficiency. Women are also more likely to be deficient during their premenstrual period.

Factors which elevate its secretion or reduce its absorption could also lead to magnesium deficiency. These include:

• intake of too much calcium (they must be balanced)
• alcohol consumption — it has been found that as much as 60% of alcoholics have low levels of magnesium, as alcohol increases the amount of magnesium excreted in the urine. And this deficiency could be a big reason why alcoholics are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
• liver disease
• kidney disease
• diabetes
• digestive disorders like malabsorption
• use of oral contraceptives, diuretics and/or medications which deplete magnesium levels
• surgery

It should be noted that standard blood tests do not flag up magnesium deficiency until it’s already severe, often after the onset of a serious health condition. Thus, the symptoms and dietary choices would offer some clues.

Food sources

The best food sources of magnesium include kelp, dulse, molasses, buckwheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, millet, rye, tofu and nuts, including almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans and English walnuts.

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