Dead People Diagnosed After It Can Do Them Any Good

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Scientists now think Chopin may have suffered from epilepsy. So, who else has been the posthumous non-beneficiary of retrospective diagnosis?

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Tutankhamun: Some scientsists believe the boy Pharoa suffered from Klippel-Feil syndrome, a curvature of the spine similar to scoliosis, that would have rendered movement difficult. (Of course, others also believe he was murdered, so.)


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Julian of Norwich: The 14th century mystic had a series of visions while violently ill. Now, the popular explanation for the illness is botulism (yes, the dented-can culprit.)


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George III: It's now believed that between the "madness," his sensitivity to light and other symptoms, the king suffered from Porphyria, a hereditary metabolic disorder caused by chemical insufficiency in hemoglobin production. This would explain his erratic behavior as well as his illness.


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Abraham Lincoln has been diagnosed with a whole heap of things, mental and physical, but many believe he had the connective-tissue disorder Marfan syndrome, which would help explain his famous height. Some believe that as a result of treatment, he suffered from mercury poisoning, too.


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Although it's debatable — and would be, given the scanty evidence available either way — there's one school of thought that Mozart was autistic.



Epilepsy May Have Caused Chopin's Hallucinations [Fox]

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DISCUSSION

Several of George III's descendants were retroactively diagnosed as having porphyria - at least one case was confirmed by teating. His great-great granddaughter's (Charlotte of Prussia) remains were tested after her death and it was determined she did have the disease. That doesn't mean George had it without a doubt, but it is likely.

Related to George but unrelated to porphyria, Alexei, the doomed son of the last tsar of Russia was confirmed to have hemophilia; his mother and one of his sisters were confirmed as carriers. It was 99.9% certain he had it anyway, but none of the royal carriers or sufferers of that time were tested for the disease as no test existed.

Another of George's descendants - a great-grandson - is thought to be the first known case of MS. This is based on a very detailed diary he kept of his symptoms.

Basically, most jacked up royal medical debacles somehow involve George III.