Aug
28
2007

Roll over Beethoven: CSI methods lead to death theories

Metal musician: This statue of Ludwig Von Beethoven in his hometown of Bonn, Germany, remembers the great composer. New research is showing that he might have died from medical treatments containing high levels of lead. (Flickr photo by Gauis Caecilius)
Metal musician: This statue of Ludwig Von Beethoven in his hometown of Bonn, Germany, remembers the great composer. New research is showing that he might have died from medical treatments containing high levels of lead. (Flickr photo by Gauis Caecilius)
Beethoven may have had a good ear for music, but he might have had bad judgment when it came to selecting a doctor.

Further forensic tests on hair samples of the classical music giant are showing that he received unusually high levels of lead in his system over the final one-third of a year of his life. And researchers think that lead likely came from treatments from his doctor.

Several years ago, CSI-type studies of Beethoven’s hair and bones revealed that he died of lead poisoning. But new findings this year, based on further samplings of his hair, show that he had huge spikes in lead levels in his system following visits from his doctor.

At the end of his life, Beethoven was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and other abdominal ailments. To treat him for the stomach ailments, Beethoven’s doctor would repeatedly puncture the abdominal cavity and then seal up the wound with a lead-laced poultice.

Even back in the early 1800s, medical professionals knew lead was a dangerous element to the body. But it was believed that the low dosages in the stomach treatments were non-poisonous for someone in Beethoven’s state. What the doctor’s didn’t know was that the composer’s liver was already reeling from high levels of lead that he consumed in wines and water that he had drank earlier in his life. In effect, the final treatments were just making the problem worse.

My editorial comment: The one thing we can be sure about was that Beethoven wasn’t playing with toys made in China at the time of his death.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ludwig van beethoven's picture
ludwig van beethoven says:

yes thats what happend good work.

posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 12:38pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Wow! Beethoven came back from the dead and left a comment on our blog. So how's about a new album dude?

posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 5:16pm

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