- DOJ reaches largest-ever federal government settlement over auto loan discrimination
- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
Strep may have killed Mozart
Question of the Day
PHILADELPHIA (AP) | For more than two centuries, the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has endured, as has the speculation about what led to his sudden death at age 35 on Dec. 5, 1791.
Was the wunderkind composer poisoned by a jealous rival? Did he have an intestinal parasite from an undercooked pork chop? Could he have accidentally poisoned himself with mercury used to treat a suspected bout of syphilis?
A report in Tuesday’s Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that the exalted Austrian composer might have succumbed to something far more commonplace: a streptococcal infection — possibly strep throat — that led to kidney failure.
The researchers looked at death records in Vienna, Austria, during the months surrounding Mozart’s death — November and December 1791 and January 1792, and compared causes of death with the previous and following years.
“We saw that at the time of Mozart’s death there was a minor epidemic in deaths involving edema [swelling], which also happened to be the hallmark of Mozart’s final disease,” said Dr. Richard Zegers of the University of Amsterdam, one of the study’s authors.
There was a spike in swelling-related deaths among younger men in Vienna at the time of Mozart’s death compared with the other years studied, suggesting a minor epidemic of streptococcal disease, Dr. Zegers said.
The cause of death recorded in Vienna’s official death register was “fever and rash,” though even in Mozart’s time those were recognized to be merely symptoms and not an actual disease.
His surviving letters and creative output suggest that he was feeling well in the months before his death and was not suffering from a chronic ailment. Many accounts note that he fell ill not long before he died, suffering from swelling so severe, his sister-in-law recalled three decades later, that the composer was unable to turn in bed.
Others who reported to have been witnesses to Mozart’s final days also described swelling, as well as back pain, malaise and rash — all symptoms that indicate Mozart may have died of kidney disease brought on by a strep infection.
“It’s not definitive, but it’s certainly food for thought,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who was not involved in the study.
He said it was not unreasonable to presume that Mozart died from strep complications, based on the information presented, but he pointed out that the authors had scant data to go on.
“Serious streptococcal infections were much more common than they are now and, indeed, they had very serious complications,” he said. “This is sure to set off many discussions going forward.”
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- D.C. to tout Obamacare among youth waiting for Air Jordans
- Dems use new filibuster rules to approve DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas under investigation
- TARGET credit card theft swells to 40 million victims
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Deportations under Obama plunged to just 1 percent last year
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- EDITORIAL: Red faces at the White House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
We’re human: we don’t always think things through, so we accept many ideas that are, well, ideas that are wrong. We also look past certain truths without recognizing them.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow