New Theory Suggests Charles Darwin Suffered from Lyme Disease - Gizmodo
Gizmodo.com - Mon 7 Jan 21:15 GMT

New Theory Suggests Charles Darwin Suffered from Lyme Disease - Gizmodo

During his lifetime, Charles Darwin complained of so many different ailments that it’s no small miracle the pioneering evolutionary biologist got any work done. Historians have struggled to understand the exact nature of his illness or illnesses, but new rese…

  In the new study, researchers Erwin Kompanje and Jelle Reumer note that Darwin had ample opportunities to contract Lyme disease, which is caused by an infection of the Borrelia bacterium and typically transmitted via ticks.

  In terms of symptoms, the authors said Darwin suffered from a “complex condition with multisystem symptoms” in which Lyme disease “may have played an important role,” possibly in combination with another illness, likely lactose intolerance (a diagnosis made in 2005, to which Kompanje and Reumer are in agreement).

  That Lyme disease could have contributed to Darwin’s many symptoms is not an outrageous proposition.

  “So, it is plausible that Darwin might have contracted Lyme disease in Britain, and the chronic infection may have been an important piece of why he was so uncomfortable for so many decades.

  “However, the hypothesis that the symptoms described in his letters and notebooks were Lyme disease seems fairly unlikely because Darwin didn’t appear to have any common symptoms of Lyme disease, and all of the symptoms cited by the authors are unusual for Lyme disease but are frequently observed for the other, more common conditions the authors describe.”