Darwin’s Travels & Death?
May 7, 2011 by staff
Darwin’s Travels & Death?, The trips that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and modern biology form may have led to a disease that ravaged the British naturalist for decades and eventually led to his death, modern scholars say.
Darwin diseases are the subjects of an annual conference in Baltimore on Friday that offers modern medical diagnosis of disease and the mysterious deaths of historic figures. In recent years, the conference organized by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Maryland and the Veterans Administration Health System looked to Alexander the Great, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Booker T. Washington. Guest speakers include great great granddaughter of Darwin, poet Ruth Padel, who wrote the book “Darwin. A Life in Poems
Philip A. Mackowiak, the Maryland VA Medical Center chief of clinical care and professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the UM conference began in 1995, Darwin in its updated list of potential candidates for years.
Darwin, who lived from 1809 to 1882, he traveled the world in his 20 years of cataloging and wildlife observation and later published “The Origin of Species.”
Throughout his life, Darwin sought help from multiple health problems, including vomiting, stomach acid after every meal, when symptoms were at their worst. He was diagnosed with dozens of conditions including schizophrenia, appendicitis and lactose intolerance.
“It is particularly poignant that scientists and doctors of his time could not provide Darwin, the father of the modern life sciences, to the relief of the ailments that affected much of his life,” said Mackowiak.
The information used to evaluate the case of Darwin came from several sources, said Mackowiak, including naturalist’s own letters, in which he wrote extensively about their complaints and concerns that had happened in their illness to their children.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Sidney Cohen, a professor at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College of medicine and director of research, assessed the ailments of Darwin for the conference and said three diseases. Cohen, who had no x-rays or blood tests to use in their assessment, said only documented symptoms: ananlysis of this journey of disability suffered throughout his life. ”
“It is a specialty based on symptoms, but now we have some special diagnostic tools,” he said. “It would have been nice to have some CT scans.”
Cohen concluded that Darwin suffered from cyclic vomiting syndrome early in life. Its weight and nutrition remained normal, as they rarely vomit food, just stomach acid and other secretions.
The gastroenterologist also believes that Darwin contracted Chagas disease, a parasitic disease that can lie dormant for years, for a five-year voyage around the world on HMS Beagle in his 20 years. The hypothesis has been advanced in the past. Describes the disease of the heart diseases that plague to Darwin later in life and eventually caused his death, said Cohen.
He believes that Darwin also suffered from Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes peptic ulcer disease and often occurs with Chagas.
Cohen’s research on Darwin’s illness gave him a deeper appreciation of Darwin and the impact of his scientific work, despite his ailments.
“It’s hard to know how it affected their work,” Mackowiak said. “But never diminished productivity.”
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