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Charles Darwin's Illness Options
Daemon
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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Charles Darwin's Illness

For much of his adult life, Charles Darwin was afflicted by an illness or illnesses whose uncommon combination of symptoms affected him intermittently and left him severely debilitated for long periods of time. The list of symptoms is quite extensive and includes vertigo, cramps, tremors, eczema, vomiting, and anxiety. Recently, there has been an increase in speculation about the nature of his condition, yet it remains a mystery. What are some explanations that have been proposed over the years? More...
KSPavan
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017 1:20:25 AM

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Charles Darwin's Illness
For much of his adult life, Charles Darwin was afflicted by an illness or illnesses whose uncommon combination of symptoms affected him intermittently and left him severely debilitated for long periods of time. The list of symptoms is quite extensive and includes vertigo, cramps, tremors, eczema, vomiting, and anxiety. Recently, there has been an increase in speculation about the nature of his condition, yet it remains a mystery.
jeangnome
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017 7:24:16 AM

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Sounds like an auto-immune disease to me.
raghd muhi al-deen
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017 11:52:34 AM

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Charles Darwin's illness
Charles Darwin's illness
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

For much of his adult life, Charles Darwin's health was repeatedly compromised by an uncommon combination of symptoms, leaving him severely debilitated for long periods of time. However, in some ways this may have helped his work, and Charles Darwin wrote "Even ill-health, though it has annihilated several years of my life, has saved me from the distractions of society and amusement."[1]

He consulted with more than 18 doctors, but, with the medical science of the time, the cause remained undiagnosed. He tried all available treatments, but, at best, they had only temporary success. More recently, there has been much speculation as to the nature of his illness.
Development of illness and symptoms

As a medical student at Edinburgh University, Darwin found that he was too sensitive to the sight of blood and the brutality of surgery at the time, so he turned his attention to natural history, an extramural interest he developed further when studying at the University of Cambridge to qualify as a clergyman.

On 10 December 1831, as he waited in Plymouth for the voyage on HMS Beagle to begin, he suffered from chest pain and heart palpitations, but told no one at the time in case it stopped him from going on the survey expedition.[2] During the voyage, he suffered badly from sea-sickness during the eighteen months he was at sea, but he spent much of the three years and three months he was on land in strenuous exploration. In Argentina at the start of October 1833, he collapsed with a fever. He spent two days in bed, and then memories of a young shipmate who had died of the fever persuaded him to take a boat down river to Buenos Aires, lying ill in his cabin until the fever passed. On 20 September 1834, while returning from a horseback expedition in the Andes mountains, he fell ill and spent the month of October in bed in Valparaiso. In his journal for 25 March 1835, while to the east of the Andes near Mendoza, he noted "an attack (for it deserves no less a name) of the Benchuca, a species of Reduvius, the great black bug of the Pampas", a member of the Triatominae which are associated with Chagas' disease.

After the voyage ended on 2 October 1836, he quickly established himself as an eminent geologist, at the same time secretly beginning speculations on transmutation as he conceived of his theory. On 20 September 1837, he suffered "an uncomfortable palpitation of the heart" and as "strongly" advised by his doctors, left for a month of recuperation in the countryside. That October he wrote, "Of late anything which flurries me completely knocks me up afterwards, and brings on a violent palpitation of the heart."[3] In the spring of 1838 he was overworked, worried and suffering stomach upsets and headaches which caused him to be unable to work for days on end. These intensified and heart troubles returned, so in June he went "geologising" in Scotland and felt fully recuperated. Later that year however, bouts of illness returned — a pattern which would continue. He married Emma Wedgwood on 29 January 1839, and in December of that year as Emma's first pregnancy progressed, he fell ill and accomplished little during the following year.

For over forty years Darwin suffered intermittently from various combinations of symptoms such as: malaise, vertigo, dizziness, muscle spasms and tremors, vomiting, cramps and colics, bloating and nocturnal intestinal gas, headaches, alterations of vision, severe tiredness, nervous exhaustion, dyspnea, skin problems such as blisters all over the scalp and eczema, crying, anxiety, sensation of impending death and loss of consciousness, fainting, tachycardia, insomnia, tinnitus, and depression.

with my pleasure
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