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Darwin's Illness$
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Ralph Colp Jr.

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032313

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032313.001.0001

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Medical Theories

Medical Theories

(p.146) 21 Medical Theories
Darwin's Illness

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

University Press of Florida

Since Charles Darwin had severe episodes of vomiting and abdominal pains, it has been suggested that he may have had appendicitis, gastroduodenal ulcer, or cholecystitis. David Kohn has suggested that Darwin may have had a diaphragmatic hernia. In addition, two metabolic diseases were considered as possible causes for Darwin's illness. In 1959, Dr. DeWitt Stetten Jr. stated that Darwin had gout (not to be confused with the Victorian diagnosis of “suppressed gout”). In 1966 and 1967, Dr. Hyman J. Roberts suggested that Darwin may have had an illness that he called the “syndrome of narcolepsy and diabetogenic hyperinsulinism”. Moreover, the chapter shows how this syndrome applies to Darwin.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, David Kohn, diaphragmatic hernia, Dr DeWitt Stetten Jr, gout, Dr Hyman J Roberts, syndrome of narcolepsy, diabetogenic hyperinsulinism

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