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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Did FDR Really Have Polio?

Read the whole article at io9:  A 2012 study published in the Journal of Medical Biography conducted a probability analysis based on Roosevelt's symptoms, with the outcome suggesting Roosevelt likely suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome instead of polio.

Physicians and scientists have struggled with the diagnosis of polio in the decades after Roosevelt's death, as Roosevelt's advanced age made him an unlikely candidate for the disease. Roosevelt also experienced paralysis in both legs, while polio usually affects only one side of the body. Polio does not often affect the intestinal tract, yet the events of August 9th left FDR without control of his bowels. The future president continued to experience pain and other sensations in his legs.

An FDR diagnosed with Guillain-Barre would have little to gain over one diagnosed with polio due to a deficit in possible treatments.

The Misdiagnosis that Saved Lives:

Roosevelt did not hide his diagnosis, forming a polio rehabilitation center Georgia before running for president.

While we will never truly know if Roosevelt suffered from polio, the attention Roosevelt brought to the illness ended the most rampant cause of death and paralysis in human history, a disease dating to Ancient Egypt. Not a bad outcome for a possible misdiagnosis.

1 comment:

  1. Is there a DNA test that could be performed to determine which FDR had?

    ReplyDelete