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Giovanni Boccaccio's (1313-1375) disease and demise: The final untold tale of liver and heart failure


Galassi, Francesco M; Toscano, Fabrizio; Armocida, Emanuele; Spani, Giovanni; Papio, Michael; Rühli, Frank J (2017). Giovanni Boccaccio's (1313-1375) disease and demise: The final untold tale of liver and heart failure. HOMO Journal of Comparative Human Biology:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Giovanni Boccaccio's fatal disease(s) and cause of death have long remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, a thorough multidisciplinary reassessment has finally been carried out. By combining philological and clinical approaches, it is at last possible to suggest a solid retrospective diagnosis based upon a study of his correspondence, poetry and iconography, as well as references to his physical decay in coeval and later sources. It would appear that he suffered over the last three years of his life from hepatic and cardiac failure, conditions that resulted in edema and potentially even hepatic carcinoma. Focusing on an unusually well-documented case from the Middle Ages, this analysis of exceptionally high informative value reconstructs the symptoms of his medical conditions and finally permits us to clarify and explain the historical feaures, presentations and evolutionary history of the case at hand.

Abstract

Giovanni Boccaccio's fatal disease(s) and cause of death have long remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, a thorough multidisciplinary reassessment has finally been carried out. By combining philological and clinical approaches, it is at last possible to suggest a solid retrospective diagnosis based upon a study of his correspondence, poetry and iconography, as well as references to his physical decay in coeval and later sources. It would appear that he suffered over the last three years of his life from hepatic and cardiac failure, conditions that resulted in edema and potentially even hepatic carcinoma. Focusing on an unusually well-documented case from the Middle Ages, this analysis of exceptionally high informative value reconstructs the symptoms of his medical conditions and finally permits us to clarify and explain the historical feaures, presentations and evolutionary history of the case at hand.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Uncontrolled Keywords:Giovanni Boccaccio; Liver failure; Medieval medicine; Obesity; Palaeopathology
Language:English
Date:13 June 2017
Deposited On:07 Aug 2017 15:12
Last Modified:08 Aug 2017 07:30
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0018-442X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jchb.2017.06.001
PubMed ID:28693827

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