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Beethoven and Lead poisoning

Posted by iskanbasal on August 29, 2007

Beethoven died at age 57. Many evidence suggest the cause of his death was lead poisoning:

“Previous research determined that Beethoven had suffered from lead poisoning, first detecting toxic levels of the metal in his hair and then, two years ago, in bone fragments. Those findings strengthened the belief that lead poisoning may have contributed — and ultimately led — to his death at age 57”.

Via “Yahoo news

Other names of lead poisoning are saturnism,plumbism and the painter’s colic. I turned back to review the symptoms becuase there should be many neulogical features such as irritability, headache, insomnia, lethargy, memory problems and even coma; and also the many other gastrointestinal features: nausea, vomiting, anorexia, weight loss, diarrhea and constipation; there is also anemia and many other problems. I wonder if some of these symptoms were present in beethoven’s lead disease. the news report about his cirrhosis and edema in the abdomen (ascites).

A good resource is the article of the wikipedia.

The mayo clinic article.

A very detailed article from emedicine. I should return to read this article carefully.

I have now more news about the death of Beethoven from lead poisoning, the studies were done on Beethoven’s hair but this report ends saying:

“There’s limits on what you can do with hair,” he says. “There’s a lot of data that shows that chemical analysis becomes completely unreliable when you get a few inches from the scalp.” From sciencemag, Sciencenow

Beethoven Dead From Lead?

there are also many references.

I also discovered this evening that clinical cases wrote about beethoven’s death from lead already in 2005; so the subject is not at all new but  all the above articles are more recent studies.

(escuse me my English errors).


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