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Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair - UPDATE

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Author Topic: Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair - UPDATE  (Read 46 times)
Bianca
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« on: March 06, 2009, 07:33:40 pm »





                            









                           Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair






ScienceDaily
(Dec. 29, 2000)

—- In 1827 a young German conductor traveled to Vienna to visit the dying Beethoven, and the day after his death cut a small lock of his hair to keep as a memento. In October 2000, strands from that lock of hair found their way into Argonne National Laboratory's circular electron accelerator to undergo chemical analysis. The results, announced in October, show extremely high levels of lead that may have caused Beethoven's lifelong health problems, personality disorders, and eventual death.

Physicists Ken Kemner, Derrick Mancini, and Francesco DeCarlo at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source (APS) research facility performed nondestructive X-ray beam experiments on the hair. The scientists are developing and advancing new APS techniques to address such issues as contaminant mobility, and analyzing hair from a person who may have been exposed to high levels of a contaminant metal are extremely relevant to such research. They tested six strands of the Beethoven hairs side-by-side with a standard hair of known lead content and a standard "lead glass" thin film of known lead content. The APS circular electron accelerator (known as a synchrotron) accelerates electrons at close to the speed of light to create a thin beam of X-rays that excites electrons within a substance to reveal its elemental composition. The researchers found that the hair strands showed high lead levels averaging about 60 parts per million—about 100 times more than that of the average person. Beethoven suffered from chronic abdominal pain, irritability, and depression—all known today as symptoms of lead poisoning. He died at 56, the cause of his illness and death unclear.

With additional analysis and study, the researchers hope eventually to determine the source of the lead poisoning. Beethoven might have ingested lead from the mineral water he drank at spas, which he was known to frequent for their curative effects, or from dishes used to prepare or serve food, or from wine stored in lead-lined flasks or lead crystal. During the early 19th century lead smelting was common in Europe. Hair provides a timeline of sorts, and the Beethoven strands can indicate lead exposure during the last six months of his life.

In addition to determining lead levels, the researchers collaborated with scientists at the Health Research Institute in Naperville, Illinois, to look for distinctive trace-metal patterns associated with genius, irritability, glucose disorders, and malabsorption. They found none present in the Beethoven samples. They also found no mercury, commonly used at the time to treat Syphilis, which some Beethoven scholars had suspected and other disputed. The researchers also looked for evidence of drug metabolites but found none, indicating that Beethoven avoided opiate painkillers during his long and painful death, keeping his mind clear for his music, which he continued working on until the day he died.

Argonne's testing of the Beethoven hair was part of the Beethoven Project at the Health Research Institute, directed by former Argonne scientist William J. Walsh. Further chemical analysis was also conducted by McCrone Research Institute in Chicago, who also tested Napoleon's hair and disproved the historic notion that he was poisoned by arsenic.



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Adapted from materials provided by U.S. Department Of Energy, Office Of Science.
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 MLA U.S. Department Of Energy, Office Of Science (2000, December 29). Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2000/12/001228084801.htm
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 07:47:18 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2009, 07:37:49 pm »




               

               Bust of Beethoven based on his death mask









                                       Argonne Researchers Confirm Lead In Beethoven's Illness






ScienceDaily
(Dec. 8, 2005)

— Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have found massive amounts of lead in bone fragments belonging to 19th Century composer Ludwig von Beethoven, confirming the cause of his years of chronic debilitating illness.

The bone fragments, confirmed by DNA testing to have come from Beethoven's body, were scanned by X-rays from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne, which provides the most brilliant X-rays in the Western Hemisphere. A control bone fragment sample from the same historic period was also examined. Both bone fragments were from the parietal section – the top – of the skull.

“The testing indicated large amounts of lead in the Beethoven bone sample, compared to the control,” said Bill Walsh, chief scientist at the Pfeiffer Treatment Center in Warrenville, Ill., and director of the Beethoven Research Project.

The bone fragment is the property of Paul Kaufman, a California businessman who inherited the relics through other family members from his great-great uncle, an Austrian doctor. Not sure if the fragment was actually from the composer, Kaufman sent it to the University of Muenster in Germany for mitochondrial DNA comparison with the samples of Beethoven's hair, owned by the Beethoven Society and also analyzed by Walsh and his colleagues at the Advanced Photon Source.

The findings confirm the earlier work done on the hair samples. In addition, the researchers found no detectable levels of either cadmium or mercury – both considered possibilities for causing Beethoven's illness – in either the bone fragment or the hair.

“The finding of elevated lead in Beethoven's skull, along with DNA results indicating authenticity of the bone/hair relics, provides solid evidence that Beethoven suffered from a toxic overload of lead,” Walsh said. “In addition, the presence of lead in the skull suggests that his exposure to lead was not a recent event, but may have been present for many years.”
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 07:55:56 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 07:39:20 pm »









The half life of lead in the human body is about 22 years, with 95 percent of “old” lead residing in the skeletal structure. Beethoven experienced a change of personality and abdominal illness in his late teens and early 20s that persisted throughout his adult life. His abdominal symptoms and autopsy findings are both consistent with lead poisoning, Walsh said.

There have been documented cases of deafness resulting from lead poisoning, but this has been a relatively rare occurrence. There is no solid evidence that lead poisoning was a cause of Beethoven's deafness, Walsh said.

"Beethoven saw physician after physician in search of a cure for his physical ailments," said Walsh. In fact, in a letter to a friend, he expressed the wish that after his death, researchers would use his remains to help determine the cause of his illness so that others would not have to suffer as he did. "Beethoven suffered from bad digestion, chronic abdominal pain, irritability and depression. Since he died in 1827 at age 57, there has been much speculation but no proof of the cause of his illnesses and death."

Researchers performed the elemental X-ray fluorescence analysis at an Advanced Photon Source X-ray Operations and Research beamline.

"The APS is the only machine in the country where we can perform the research in this detail," said Ken Kemner, one of the Argonne researchers involved in the project. The group used microimaging to look at the distribution of lead in and on both the bone fragment and the hair to identify the presence of any surface effects and to determine the timeline of the lead exposure.

Argonne's Advanced Photon Source is a premier national research facility providing X-rays to more than 5,000 scientists from around the world. “Our users bring with them ideas for new discoveries in nearly every scientific discipline,” said Murray Gibson, Argonne associate laboratory director for scientific user facilities. “They bring their ideas to the APS because our X-ray beams let them collect data in unprecedented detail and in amazingly short time frames.”

Other members of the research team are Derrick Mancini and Francesco DeCarlo of the Advanced Photon Source Experimental Facilities Division.

The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory conducts basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology. Since 1990, Argonne has worked with more than 600 companies and numerous federal agencies and other organizations to help advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for the future. Argonne is managed by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.


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Adapted from materials provided by Argonne National Laboratory.
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 MLA Argonne National Laboratory (2005, December Cool. Argonne Researchers Confirm Lead In Beethoven's Illness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2005/12/051207211035.htm
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Bianca
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2009, 07:52:39 pm »





               

               BEETHOVEN'S GRAVE

               VIENNA
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