’World’s heaviest woman’ dies in Abu Dhabi hospital

(FILES) This file photo taken on July 24, 2017 shows Egyptian national Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty waving during a press conference at the Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Aty, once believed to be the 'world's heaviest woman', died on September 25, 2017, of heart and kidney failure at the Abu Dhabi hospital. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2017
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’World’s heaviest woman’ dies in Abu Dhabi hospital

ABU DHABI: An Egyptian believed to be the world’s heaviest woman died Monday of heart and kidney failure at an Abu Dhabi hospital, following months of treatment to help her lose weight and one day walk again.
A team of more than 20 doctors had been caring for the bedridden Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, 37, since her arrival at Burjeel Hospital in May.
El Aty first sought treatment in India, traveling from the port city of Alexandria to Mumbai aboard a specially modified Airbus in early February.
She had a long wait as no airlines were willing to fly her due to her health complications.
She had not left home in more than two decades and weighed around 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).
Her request for an Indian visa was initially denied, but she was granted passage after the doctor who volunteered to do her initial surgery tweeted a plea for help directly to India’s foreign minister, who intervened.
She underwent bariatric surgery — a stomach-shrinking bypass procedure — the following month, initially shedding 100 kilograms at Saifee Hospital.
Her family told the doctor that as a child she was diagnosed with elephantiasis, a condition that causes the limbs and other body parts to swell, leaving her almost immobile.
By the time she left Mumbai, doctors said El Aty had lost more than half her original weight.
El Aty left Mumbai when her sister clashed with the hospital, disputing her progress and treatment.
In Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital, doctors were hoping to help El Aty walk again, according to a report in the Indian Express.
El Aty celebrated her birthday last month with her family and doctors by her side.
The Alexandria native had dreamed to one day visit the beach again, the Indian Express said, quoting her sister.


World’s oldest bread found at prehistoric site in Jordan

Updated 17 July 2018
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World’s oldest bread found at prehistoric site in Jordan

WASHINGTON: Charred remains of a flatbread baked about 14,500 years ago in a stone fireplace at a site in northeastern Jordan have given researchers a delectable surprise: people began making bread, a vital staple food, millennia before they developed agriculture.
No matter how you slice it, the discovery detailed on Monday shows that hunter-gatherers in the Eastern Mediterranean achieved the cultural milestone of bread-making far earlier than previously known, more than 4,000 years before plant cultivation took root.
The flatbread, likely unleavened and somewhat resembling pita bread, was fashioned from wild cereals such as barley, einkorn or oats, as well as tubers from an aquatic papyrus relative, that had been ground into flour.
It was made by a culture called the Natufians, who had begun to embrace a sedentary rather than nomadic lifestyle, and was found at a Black Desert archaeological site.
“The presence of bread at a site of this age is exceptional,” said Amaia Arranz-Otaegui, a University of Copenhagen postdoctoral researcher in archaeobotany and lead author of the research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Arranz-Otaegui said until now the origins of bread had been associated with early farming societies that cultivated cereals and legumes. The previous oldest evidence of bread came from a 9,100-year-old site in Turkey.
“We now have to assess whether there was a relationship between bread production and the origins of agriculture,” Arranz-Otaegui said. “It is possible that bread may have provided an incentive for people to take up plant cultivation and farming, if it became a desirable or much-sought-after food.”
University of Copenhagen archaeologist and study co-author Tobias Richter pointed to the nutritional implications of adding bread to the diet. “Bread provides us with an important source of carbohydrates and nutrients, including B vitamins, iron and magnesium, as well as fiber,” Richter said.
Abundant evidence from the site indicated the Natufians had a meat- and plant-based diet. The round floor fireplaces, made from flat basalt stones and measuring about a yard (meter) in diameter, were located in the middle of huts.
Arranz-Otaegui said the researchers have begun the process of trying to reproduce the bread, and succeeded in making flour from the type of tubers used in the prehistoric recipe. But it might have been an acquired taste.
“The taste of the tubers,” Arranz-Otaegui said, “is quite gritty and salty. But it is a bit sweet as well.”