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Stumbled on an interesting article from the New York Times about the reason(s) of Beethoven death. A few weeks ago, Andrew Todd from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York tested a part of Beethoven’s skull and did not find any abnormal amount of lead, for a 56 years old person. Strangely, a second skull sample showed higher amount of lead. The expert will conduct further tests on that second fragment and the full results will be available soon.

Of course, Beethoven had plenty occasion to consume lead. It is said he was drinking cheap wine, who was softened by lead to hide bitterness. But Todd think it is unlikely it happened since Beethoven had apparently the means to get finer wines.  Also, he received a treatment for a wound in his final months which was  possibly made by lead poisoned tools. But according to Todd, if it intoxicated him, it would not have explained his death.

So, we can only wait to see what the expert report will say about the strange and deadly relation between lead and herr von Beethoven.

Source

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/arts/music/29skull.html?ref=arts

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