Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Napoleon Not Poisoned, Study Says

To throw in a bit of historical intrigue: a new study in the January issue of Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology finds that Napoleon Bonaparte died of stomach cancer - not arsenic poisoning - LiveScience reports.

Drawing on "current medical knowledge, autopsy reports, Bonparte's physician [sic] memoirs, eyewitness accounts, and family medical histories," a team headed by Robert Genta of University of Texas Southwestern has determined that "gastrointestinal bleeding was the acute cause of death" for the deposed and exiled ruler. By comparing the 1821 autopsy reports of two lesions found in Napoleon's stomach with images of benign and cancerous ulcers, the team concluded that Bonaparte's lesions were in fact cancerous, and Genta notes "Even if treated today, he'd have been dead within a year."

No word in the summary about the source or the impact of the arsenic discovered in Napoleon's hair back in the 1960s.