The Possibility of Systemic Lactose Intolerance

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 Lactose Intolerance

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Anthony Campbell, a professor of medical biochemistry at the University of Wales and his wife, Dr. Stephanie Matthews, contend that the symptoms of Charles Darwin's illness match those of the syndrome of systemic lactose intolerance (SLI). This occurs when an individual lacking the lactase enzyme eats foods containing lactose. This chapter considers the contention of Campbell and Matthews first by summarizing what is known about Darwin's consumption of lactose after he married Emma and became seriously ill and how this consumption may have influenced his illness, and then by comparing his symptoms to those of SLI. Perhaps after more information has been accumulated on the history and clinical nature of the main symptoms of SLI, it may be possible to form a more definitive opinion on whether Darwin's illness resembled or differed from SLI.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; Anthony Campbell; Dr. Stephanie Matthews; systemic lactose intolerance; Emma; lactose consumption

Chapter.  1299 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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