The Possibility of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

in Darwin's Illness

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032313
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039237 | DOI:
The Possibility of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Show Summary Details


In 1997, D. A. B. Young published an article suggesting that Charles Darwin's illness was caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). As evidence for this suggestion, Young gave a table that divided more than thirty of Darwin's symptoms into the categories “Gastrointestinal”, “Cutaneous”, and “Other”. On comparing these symptoms with corresponding ones in SLE patients, Young argued that the two illnesses were similar in practically all ways. This chapter questions the validity of many of these similarities, and it assesses some of Young's arguments. To facilitate this discussion, it divides the symptoms of the illnesses into the categories used by Young and then briefly indicates and compares their individual clinical characteristics and their congruities and incongruities. In general, comparison of Darwin's prominent other symptoms with the prominent symptoms of SLE indicate that there are many qualitative and quantitative differences between these two groups of symptoms and therefore that Darwin's illness and SLE are two separate diseases.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; D. A. B. Young; systemic lupus erythematosus; gastrointestinal symptoms; cutaneous symptoms

Chapter.  1340 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.