Vomiting Darwin

May 11, 2011

I’m not exactly a specialist on Darwin, so I can’t be sure whether it’s common knowledge anyway, but the man suffered from chronic vomiting. According to an article in the WSJ, there’s now yet another possible diagnose, adding to the 40-odd ones that are already out there:

Now, a new interpretation of his symptoms may have revealed the causes of Darwin’s condition. Research presented last week suggests that he suffered from three distinct ailments: cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), which generally starts in childhood; Chagas’ disease, a parasitic illness contracted during his five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, and Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria now known to cause peptic ulcers.

The new diagnoses come in the wake of an annual conference by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which has been looking at ailments of historical figures since 1985, trying to figure out what it was that made them miserable like that.