WORMS can INVADE HUMAN BRAINS!
It turns out THE HANDS OF FOOD SERVERS, COOKS, are giving people brain worms.
A DOCTOR TALKS ON CAMERA, shows the surgery where a worm is extracted from a woman's
brain. WHO of us NEEDS to spend all that money on restaurant food and all
we get beside cholesterol is workers who don't wash their hands, THEY HAVE
the worm laying eggs within them, eggs are all over their hands and they're
passing it on, according to the doctor who just did this surgery on what
was believed to be a tumor, turned out to be just a big fat worm!
Please watch it and forward it to others.!!!!
Im going to watch NCIS and MENTALIST restore my good mood.
SALIERI DIDN'T DO IT! Mozart died of pork chops!
Reading up on brainworms, I stumbled on an URL that indicates famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died of undercooked pork chops. See: Pork chop 'killed Mozart' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/1382537.stm
Mozart's death was put down to "severe miliary fever" but Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was killed by eating pork, a new report suggests. The world famous Austrian composer, who died in 1791, showed the symptoms of a disease caused by eating badly-cooked pork infected by a worm, an American doctor has said. Mozart's symptoms, including a fever, rash, limb pain and swelling, match those brought on by trichinosis, (the worm goes other places than the brain,) according to Dr Jan V Hirschmann of Seattle's Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His death was put down to a "severe miliary fever" at the time, and no autopsy was carried out. Previous theories about what killed the composer, who died aged 35, include rheumatic fever, kidney stones, heart disease, pneumonia and poisoning.
There have also been suggestions of foul play concerning rival composer Antonio Salieri. But Dr Hirschmann points to a letter Mozart wrote to his wife 44 days before he fell ill. "What do I smell?... pork cutlets! Che Gusto (What a delicious taste). I eat to your health," he wrote. Trichinosis has an incubation period of about 50 days, says Dr Hirschmann, who is an infectious disease specialist. His eight-page report is based on details from medical literature, historical documents and biographies. Dr Hirschmann admitted that not being able to be proved wrong "makes it much more enjoyable to speculate". Theories: Mozart's grave was dug up seven years after his death so it could be reused, and his remains were dispersed. Dr Faith Fitzgerald, Davis professor of music at the University of California, last year put forward the theory that Mozart died of rheumatic fever. She said there were about 150 different theories about the cause of the composer's death. "It does strike me as somewhat strange the investment people have in something that is virtually unknowable," she said. Doctors like to speculate on the composer's death because "it's fun and because it's Mozart," Dr Fitzgerald said.
That they solved the mystery 350 years later reminds me of one of my favorite mystery novels. Josephine Tey's
DAUGHTER OF TIME. Homicide Cop in a London hospital solves a crime that had happened 400 years earlier, doing it with history books and journals of people who'd lived with King Richard III. And it turns out KING RICHARD did not kill his brother's children in order to inherit the throne!
So I'm reading about the death of Mozart which was a thrilling stage play and film, won a ton of Oscars, "AMADEUS" (rent it if you haven't seen it, fab flick,) Turns out that in Autumn 1791, during a fever epidemic1, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart unexpectedly took ill - developing a high fever, headache, sweats, and
severe swelling and pain in his hands and legs. By the 14th day of his illness, his swelling had worsened to the extent that his entire body had gained 'Pillsbury Doughboy' proportions. With the swelling came nausea and
vomiting, diarrhoea, a persistent rash and an abominable reek which rose from his body to greet his visitors. A sudden change in character drove him to banish his pet canary from his sick room in irritation.
On the 5 December, just fifteen days after the onset of illness, the great musician suffered a convulsion, lapsed into a coma and died2. He was 35 years old.
The funeral was held two days later at St. Stephen's Cathedral, where Mozart had married his wife Constanze only nine years earlier. His body was never autopsied although Eduard Guldener von Lobes, the physician who
examined it, found no evidence of foul play. Contrary to popular (romantic) belief, Mozart was not given a pauper's funeral. His widow had purchased a third-class funeral which, although certainly the cheapest, was the most common in Vienna3. And, far from being destitute and ignored, hordes of people - fans and admirers of the great composer - showed up at Wälscher Platz and St. Stephen's to pay their last respects to one of the greatest
geniuses of classical music.
And yet, more than 200 years after his death, the cause of Mozart's demise
remains a mystery. More than two centuries' worth of historians,
anthropologists, musicologists and doctors have debated this mystery in
books, journals and conferences - and yet the solution eludes them.
Meanwhile, the public, stirred by romantic imagination, wonders: was Mozart
murdered, or was it disease that killed him?
Why Mozart's Death Remains a Mystery
The greatest hurdle that investigators have faced in determining the cause
of Mozart's death was that they had no corpse to deal with. Even very old
bodily remains can give hints as to the afflictions or inflictions that
were the cause of death. Unfortunately, Mozart's body was never autopsied
by his physician, and thanks to his third-class funeral and exhumation and
subsequent shuffling about, his remains are now lost to modern researchers
This would not have been so much of a problem had Mozart's physician been
more thorough in his investigations. Unfortunately, all the researchers
have to work with are the various testimonies of his doctors and those who
had watched him die. This has presented the researchers with two obvious
1. The difference in medical standards and terminology
Back in Mozart's day, medical standards were comparatively primitive -
equipment common in modern-day medicine, such as stethoscopes and
thermometers, were not introduced until the 19th Century. There was no
objective way of measuring a person's vital statistics, nor could a
patient's heart and lungs be monitored clearly or easily. (And if your
patient was as bloated and foul-smelling as Mozart in his last days, you
probably would not want to press your ear against his chest either). Thus,
observations of a patient's symptoms were subjective, and not standardised.
Medical terminology and the theories of disease were also radically
different from what is accepted in today's medical practice, making it
difficult for anybody who has no knowledge of the history of medicine to
follow the course of the medical discussion. Therefore, diagnoses of
disorders made in the past may by no means be accurate today, and might
even refer to completely different illnesses altogether. Also, as Dr.
Hirschmann has pointed out, even when these early physicians made a
diagnosis that still applies today, they may have included under the rubric
of a single disease several illnesses that are similar to one another but
are now considered distinctly different afflictions. Occam's razor was
often incited when assessing an illness. Also known as the 'law of
parsimony', it encouraged physicians to attribute all observed symptoms and
signs to a single disorder or disease, rather than to several concurrent
ones. This is further complicated by the fact that these early clinicians
were mostly unable to discriminate between illness symptoms and the adverse
effects of treatment.
2. Conflicting testimonies
The greater part of the medical records available to those investigating
Mozart's death are in the form of testimonies originating from family
members and friends who were not knowledgeable in the science of medicine,
and who were only interviewed years after Mozart's demise. Garbled by
faltering memory and dramatisation, these testimonies present conflicting
pictures of Mozart's last days.
According to Sophie, Constanze's sister, the cold poultices that the
physician Dr. Closset had placed upon Mozart's burning head had rendered
Mozart unconscious right up until the moment of death, and Mozart's last
movement was an attempt to express vocally the drum passages in the Requiem
he was writing.
Constanze herself, however, maintained that just before death overcame him,
Mozart had told her, 'I shall die... Ah, now I will leave you unprovided
for,' and had subsequently vomited and died.
On the other hand, Mozart's friend Benedict Schack said that Mozart had
asked for the score of the Requiem to be brought to his bed, and that he,
Mozart and a few others had sung it up to the first bars of the Lacrimosa,
whereupon Mozart burst into sudden tears - which would imply that Mozart
had actually finished the Lacrimosa, which most sources maintain he never
Mozart's son Karl, who was seven at the time of Mozart's death, recollected
that 'a few days before he died, his whole body became so swollen that the
patient was unable to make the smallest movement; moreover there was a
stench which reflected an internal disintegration which, after death,
increased to the extent that an autopsy was rendered impossible.'
It is not known just how much of these testimonies are uncorrupted, but at
least all parties agreed on one thing: that Mozart had suffered severe
swelling in his hands and feet that had progressed to his whole body and
that he had been in pain and had been subsequently unable to move.
Speculations on the Cause of Death
Because Mozart had been nothing short of a musical phenomenon, it is only
natural for romantic speculations of murder by insane, jealous rivals to
arise. Mozart himself had fuelled these rumours of murder by telling
Constanze in 1789 that 'I am only too conscious [that] my end will not be
long in coming; for sure, someone has poisoned me!' Six months before his
death, he was known to confide in a source that 'someone has given me acqua
toffana4 and has calculated the precise time of my death.' Mozart's son
Karl also offered the following corroborative testimony: '...the corpse did
not become stiff and cold but, as was the case with Pope Ganganelli and
those who die from poisoning by plants, remained soft and elastic.'
Postulations of murder conspiracies, ranging from vaguely plausible to
downright ridiculous, have long since been discounted in the absence of
evidence; however, for the sake of discussion, they are included in this
article. The most popular theories point fingers at:
For most people, Salieri was the perfect perpetrator. He was the
Kapellmeister to the court of composers at the time and was in a position
of power; and yet he was bested by the very immature lowlife he resented.
Driven to insanity in his later years, he had allegedly confessed to
poisoning Mozart. Indeed, Constanze herself was reported to have ranted to
anybody who would listen that Salieri had conspired to kill her husband5.
This rumour was pushed by the Russian author Aleksandr Pushkin (1799 -
1837), who in 1830 wrote a short play called Mozart and Salieri, in which
envy and resentment6 drove Salieri to murder his rival. Peter Shaffer later
incorporated this theme into his play Amadeus, which later became an
award-winning film - although in this version, Salieri drove Mozart to his
death by sabotaging his career and then provoking him to finish the Requiem
even when Mozart was obviously ill.
However, Ignaz Moscheles, who was a pupil of Beethoven's and Salieri's and
who visited Salieri in 1823, claimed that his teacher had told him '... I
can assure you on my word of honour that there is no truth in that absurd
rumour: you know, that I was supposed to have poisoned Mozart.' Indeed, Dr
Guldener von Lobes, who had examined Mozart's body, had found no evidence
of foul play. The two nurses who had cared for Salieri continuously from
the winter of 1823 had also testified that only they and the physicians had
seen Salieri, and that the patient had never at any time confessed to
Despite the alleged envy and resentment, there is no clear motive as to why
Salieri should be compelled to kill Mozart. After all, it was Salieri, and
not Mozart, who had been the Emperor Joseph II's chief musician. It was
Salieri who had a higher salary, greater wealth, and a reputation almost
equivalent to that of Mozart. Additionally, contrary to the rumours pushed
by Amadeus, Salieri's music was (although no work of genius) not the
abominable mess it was portrayed in the play, but was in fact rather good.
Furthermore, the relationship between the two composers at the time of
Mozart's death had been amiable, and one of Salieri's students had
maintained that Salieri 'did not harbour a grudge against Mozart, who
It is widely known that Mozart had always been a notorious womaniser. He'd
carried on for quite a bit with his cousin before moving on to Aloysia -
who one day suddenly became cold to him - and later married her sister
Constanze (and lest you think the flirtations stopped there and then, there
are sources that say otherwise). However, rumour had it that Mozart had
gone a little too far with Magdalena Hofdemel7, his 23-year-old student and
wife of his Masonic lodge brother Franz Hofdemel. Indeed, Ludwig van
Beethoven alleged that the two had a love affair, and later on had refused
to perform in her presence because 'too great an intimacy had existed
between her and Mozart.'
An argument apparently broke out in the Hofdemel household on the day after
Mozart's funeral, and when a visitor entered the house, he found Magdalena
lying in a pool of her own blood, her face, arms and neck brutally hacked.
Franz, who had cut his own throat with the same razor, was found in the
next room. Magdalena, who was in the fifth month of pregnancy, was later
revived, and gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Johann von Nepomuk
Alexander Franz. Because she'd named the boy after both Mozart and her
husband, rumours began to spread that Magdalena had been Mozart's mistress,
and that the child she had been pregnant with had been his. Franz had
allegedly found out about the affair and poisoned Mozart before attempting
to kill Magdalena and committing suicide.
The Freemasons and the Jews, and just about everybody else
When all else fails, blame the Freemasons and the Jews.
Mozart became a freemason in 1784 and had written several works for the
organisation. It was rumoured that the freemasons had Mozart killed after
he wrote The Magic Flute, as the opera either challenged their doctrines or
disclosed their secret rituals. Erich Ludendorff, a German World War I
general, took it one step further by bringing the Jews into the picture,
claiming that they had conspired with the masons in poisoning Mozart. This
accusation almost certainly had its roots in anti-Semitic prejudice.
Ludendorff's wife Mathilde, who was a neuropsychiatrist, suggested that the
conspiritors consisted of the Jews, freemasons and Catholics. (And you
thought Erich Ludendorff's speculation was far-fetched.)
Interestingly enough, there are also those who believe that Mozart had been
suffering from syphilis and that, while medicating himself with mercury, he
had miscalculated the dose and consequently killed himself. As Dr. Faith
Fitzgerald quipped, 'And of course, Mozart died of syphilis as well as
everything else, because every great man dies of syphilis.'
Why the poisoning theories have been discounted
The stories about Mozart being poisoned may be highly appealing, but
unfortunately they fail to explain his symptoms. Moreover, arsenic and
mercury poisoning have their own set of symptoms which, alas, do not quite
Had Mozart really been poisoned with arsenic, he would have indeed suffered
from nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and coma as his witnesses had described;
however, he would have also experienced throat-burning, difficulty in
swallowing, abdominal pain, hypotension, cyanosis8, difficulty in
breathing, delirium, sensorimotor abnormalities, and erythroderma9 - all of
which had been absent.
Likewise, had Mozart's death been due to mercury poisoning, observers
should also have noted memory loss, excessive salivation, emotional
oversensitivity, forgetfulness, timidity and delirium. His handwriting
should also have shown tremors, which is the most common sign of mercury
poisoning. All things considered, it is a whole lot more likely that Mozart
had suffered an ailment of some sort, than that he had been poisoned by a
A couple of investigators have surprisingly broken from the norm of
attributing Mozart's death to murder and strange ailments by announcing
that Mozart died from complications arising from accidents.
The first to push this story was French anthropologist Pierre-Francoise
Puech, who claimed to have positively identified a skull at Salzburg's
Mozarteum to be that of Mozart. Puech drew attention to a fracture in the
skull, claiming that it had been sustained from one of Mozart's many falls
in 1791, and that it had caused a chronic bruising that had eventually put
Mozart in a coma and killed him. The skull was supposed to have been
rescued by a gravedigger named Joseph Rothmayer during the reorganisation
of the composer's grave, who later gave it to the Salzburg Mozarteum. Three
years later, the American physician Niles E. Drake concurred with Puech's
theory in an article that was published in the journal BioScience. This
theory would indeed help explain why Mozart was depressed and dizzy not
long before his death.
The obvious problem with this theory is that there is still no consensus as
to whether the skull actually belonged to Mozart. Rothmayer had allegedly
wrapped wire around the neck of Mozart's corpse before burying it, and had
retrieved the skull ten years later when it was exhumed. Research had
concluded that the skull belonged to a 20-40 year old South German male who
suffered a developmental abnormality called premature synopsis of the
metopic suture (PSMS). This abnormality is characterised by the bone of the
forehead developing in two halves, and the failure of the metopic suture to
close after birth, resulting in a broad midface and a small,
abnormally-shaped skull. As Mozart's portraits depicted a straight,
vertical forehead, bulbous nose, prominent cheekbones and upper lip, and
prominent brow arches, it was supposed that the skull did indeed belong to
him. Further research involving the superimposition of a photograph of the
cranium of the skull on portraits of Mozart painted between 1778 and 1788
indicated conformity with all side proportions of the head.
However, Nova Scotian neurologist Professor TJ Murray, who founded the
Dalhousie Society for the History of Medicine, denied that the skull was
that of Mozart as seen in portraits. Walter Brauneis, archivist of the
Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Austria, undertook
to carry out his own research by locating official medical records
concerning Mozart's death. Surprisingly he found a doctor's description of
the body, which noted that Mozart (the dentist's worst nightmare!) had only
seven teeth remaining in his mouth (the rest having rotted or fallen out!)
When the Mozarteum skull was re-examined, it was found to have four more
teeth than had been recorded by the doctor. Puech supporters countered that
the doctor probably counted only the healthy teeth.
The only way to be sure just whose skull it is would be to perform DNA
analysis on the skull; unfortunately, all of Mozart's children died
childless, and it would be unwise to disturb his parents' grave.
The Dalhousie Society for the History of Medicine held a symposium entitled
'Medicine in the Age of Mozart' in 1991, 200 years after Mozart's death.
The symposium, organized by Dr. Edward Carl Abbott (a distinguished
physician, cardiologist and endocrionologist) gathered a multidisciplinary
team that included historians, anthropologists, medical specialists from
various fields and epidemiologists to discuss the mystery of Mozart's
death, and to study the disease profile of the second half of the 19th
century. The symposium's book, 'Mozart and Medicine' was published as a
special issue of the Dalhousie Report.
Nine years later, the University of Maryland held the most unusual
postmortem in the history of medicine - the peculiarity being that the
corpse to be examined was missing. Unlike standard autopsies, this
University holds annual historical clinical pathology conferences, where a
physician is invited to diagnose the mysterious maladies of historical
figures. The historical figure for that year was Mozart.
It is clear to physicians that Mozart died of a disease of some sort. Many
possible diseases of varying degrees of plausibility have been proposed,
ranging from typhoid fever to tuberculosis to syphilis to hepatitis.
However, the disease in question is not communicable directly from person
to person - had it been so infective, then Sophie would probably caught it,
and even more so Constanze, who had crawled into bed with her husband,
hoping to catch his disease and die from it as well10. On the other hand,
it has to be capable of causing an epidemic - a most interesting
The possibilities that physicians, historians and musicians have speculated
upon over the years include:
Constanze's younger sister Sophie spent a great deal of time tending to
Mozart during his final days as, by this time, he was quite incapable of
movement. During this time an interesting exchange took place between them
when, told by Sophie to be brave and that he would not die, Mozart replied,
'Why, I already have the taste of death on my tongue.'
Assuming that Mozart was lucid and not harbouring paranoid delusions11 at
the time, this might, as some physicians have suggested, indicate that
Mozart was suffering from uremia. Investigators who belong to this school
of thought have highlighted two things that point in this direction:
1. a description by Mozart's father, Leopold Mozart, of an illness that
Mozart had suffered sometime in 1784: '...he perspired so profusely that
his clothes were drenched...had a violent attack of colic, which ended each
time in violent vomiting', and
2. Mozart's malformed ear, reasoning that since ears and kidneys develop
at roughly the same time in the human embryo, then a malformed ear would
imply kidney problems as well.
Uremia is a term loosely given to a cornucopia of symptoms and physical
abnormalities arising from the kidney's failure to remove nitrogenous waste
products normally excreted in the urine. Its toxic effects affect almost
all human organs, manifesting in the form of swelling of the ankles
(oedema), nausea, vomiting, convulsions, coma and - ultimately - death,
which would explain Mozart's symptoms at the end of his days. The 'death'
he tasted on his tongue would have been caused by the accumulation of waste
products in his mouth, causing foul breath.
However, Mozart had not been described as anaemic (anaemia is always
present in cases of uremia because the high blood levels of urea shorten
the lifespan of red blood cells), nor did he suffer itching and fits, which
are other common symptoms of uremia. Furthermore, although renal failure
may cause oedema without shortness of breath, it is scarcely an epidemic
disease associated with fever, rash, swelling of the limbs and preserved
mentation. Mozart was also not known to have a history of renal
dysfunction. And, contrary to typical progression of uremia, his coma was
also not prolonged, and he was in considerably good health until shortly
before his death. Perhaps, if he had been born two hundred years later,
tests might have indicated an increase in blood pressure and elevation in
certain blood components such as urea, uric acid and creatinine; however,
because Mozart had been born in a dark age of medicine, his blood chemistry
can only be speculated upon.
Dr. Peter J Davies, who authored the book Mozart in Person: His Character
and Health, firmly believes that Mozart died of a hypersensitivity disease
called Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP). Named after doctors Lucas Schönlein
and Edward Henoch who identified the disease in the 19th Century, HSP is
caused by an abnormal response of the immune system, triggering
hypersensitivity vasculitis and inflammatory response within the blood
vessel. This disease affects the capillaries in the skin and frequently the
kidneys as well, resulting in skin rash, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloody
stools and arthritis, the joints most frequently affected being those of
the ankles and the knees. Davies argues that it is this disease that Mozart
came down with in 1784, which resulted in kidney failure at the end of his
days. Aggravated by bloodletting, Mozart was supposed to have developed a
brain haemorrhage and died of pneumonia12, which 'usually develops when the
patient is already moribund.'
The problem with this theory is that, despite Dr. Davies's allegations, it
does not quite explain half of Mozart's symptoms – or why Mozart failed to
exhibit some of the major signs. In the first place, nobody had ever
mentioned purple spots on Mozart's body13, which are a dead giveaway of
this disease. Then there is the prevalence factor - although this disease
is more frequently observed in boys than girls, the age of onset is usually
younger than 21 years (this being associated chiefly with children), which
makes it unlikely for Mozart to have developed it at 35. And even if Mozart
had HSP, it would have been unlikely, even in a primitive age of medicine,
for him to develop acute or chronic renal failure, let alone die from the
disease. Even if Mozart beat the odds and developed this disease, HSP
epidemics do not occur, and he should have been mentally unsound at the end
of his days.
Another theory that has been discarded but was, for a time, popular, is
that Mozart died of infective endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the
interior surfaces of the heart and the heart valves, usually caused by a
bacterial infection. This hypothesis would explain Mozart's fever and skin
lesions14, the swollen hands and feet, his preserved mentation until death
- and the fatality of the disease. On the other hand, the oedema would have
been brought forth by heart failure caused by valvular damage, and would
have certainly been accompanied by shortness of breath. Furthermore,
infective endocarditis is rarely associated with nephritic syndrome and is
certainly not an epidemic disease!
Until the 1990s, the most plausible - and most satisfying - explanation for
Mozart's death was that he died of rheumatic fever. The diagnosis was first
made by Dr. Eduard Guldener von Lobes, who described Mozart as having
succumbed to an epidemic of 'rheumatic and inflammatory disease' and dying
of a 'deposit on the brain'. Dr. Faith T Fitzgerald, who was the visiting
physician at the University of California's sixth clinical pathologist
conference, came to the same conclusion after ruling out a number of
diseases such as liver disease (Mozart did not suffer from jaundice). Among
the professionals who backed her diagnosis was Neal Zaslaw, who is the
Cornell University professor of music and renowned Mozart scholar.
At the time Mozart fell ill, an epidemic similar to Mozart's disease was
said to have plagued Vienna. This disease, identified by some physicians to
be rheumatic fever, is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes,
which is also associated with other diseases such as strep throat and
necrotising fasciitis (aka the flesh-eating syndrome). Triggered by the
invading bacteria, the host's body produces antibodies which, while helping
wipe out the bacteria, occasionally15 inadvertently attack the host's own
heart, skin, joints and brain in a phenomenon known as cross-reaction.
Although ninety percent of rheumatic fever cases resolve in 12 weeks or so,
recurrences can occur, each time further weakening the heart and other
Investigators have cited a letter dating back to 1784 in which Leopold
Mozart described his son as suffering from 'acute rheumatic fever' and a
1790 letter written by Mozart himself that stated, 'my head is covered with
bandages due to rheumatic pains.' If these statements are indicative of
rheumatic fever, this might infer that these were recurrences of the
disease he'd suffered back in 1763 when he 'fell ill and was very
sick...finally the trouble settled in his feet, where he complained of
pains and so forth...he could not stand on his feet or move his toes or
knees...for four nights he could not sleep.'
Indeed, much of Mozart's symptoms do correspond to the manifestations of
rheumatic fever, and which seem to satisfy the Jones' criteria for the
clinical diagnosis of rheumatic fever16. He had the fever and rash which
are common signs of the disease, as well as the inflammation of the
extremities17. Another possible telltale sign of the disease is Mozart's
unusual irritability - which drove him to banish his pet canary from his
sickroom - which implies a neurological disturbance caused by chorea.
Fitzgerald pointed out that the swelling would have been brought on by the
weakening of Mozart's heart, which would have caused fluid retention - and
concluded that Mozart ultimately died of congestive heart failure.
However, for someone who had allegedly suffered repeated episodes of the
disease, Mozart was in excellent health. Here is where the contradiction
lies: acute rheumatic disease does not have a substantial mortality rate
(in the 19th century when rheumatic fever broke out in America and Britain,
only 1-5% of those afflicted died of the disease - and these were those who
were actually ill enough to require hospitalisation); death is usually
caused by the chronic form of rheumatic fever after years and years of
heart damage. Moreover, if it had been rheumatic fever that afflicted
Mozart, it would have been the chronic form which affects the heart, since
the acute form primarily afflicts children, predominantly causes arthritis
and does not recur. Investigators have already argued that Mozart suffered
recurring bouts of the disease. However, arthritic and cardiac conditions
of the disease are inversely related - the disease either attacks the heart
and mildly affects the joints, or attacks the joints and mildly affects the
heart. Since Mozart's childhood illness complaints are centered about joint
pain, then it should be inferred that he should not have been afflicted
with heart problems later on in life. Furthermore, had Mozart died of
congestive heart disease, he should have exhibited signs of respiratory
disorder during the earlier manifestations of the disease as well as
impaired health due to a weak heart long before he died.
In 2001 speculations upon the nature of the disease that killed Mozart took
an abrupt turn when infectious disease specialist Dr. Jan V Hirschmann
argued that Mozart's death was caused by - pork chops. Hirschmann, of Puget
Sound Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Washington in
Seattle, who discussed this subject in the journal Archives of Internal
Medicine, pointed out what he believed to be a significant clue in a letter
dated 7-8 October, 1791 from Mozart to his wife:
'...What do I smell? Why, here is Don Primus with the pork cutlets! Che
gusto!18 Now I am eating to your health! It is striking eleven o'clock...'
Mozart's favourite food had always been pork. In this case, it may have
been his favourite pork chops that killed him - or rather, what was in
The disease trichinosis, caused by a parasitic worm called Trichinella and
spread by improperly-cooked tainted meat, was not discovered until 186019
when a woman who died of a mysterious disease with symptoms similar to
Mozart's - fever, weakness, anorexia, constipation and excruciating muscle
pain - was found to harbour a large number of wriggling worms in her
muscles. When the pathologist, Friedrich von Zenker, discovered that others
at the inn where she worked had developed a similar disease (including a
butcher who had prepared the meat for a Christmas meal she had attended),
he set about examining the ham and sausage from a pig slaughtered for the
festivities - and found the same worms in the muscle tissue. When Zenker
fed the tainted meat to animals, he found worms in their alimentary canal.
The incubation period for trichinosis is usually between eight and 15 days,
although it can take up to 50 days for the worms to start wreaking havoc.
Liberated from their cysts by the digestive juices in the host's stomach,
the larvae travel to the small intestine and invade the columnar epithelium
layer where they moult four times before maturing. Five days after mating,
the females give birth to live larvae, which penetrate the intestinal wall,
enter the lymphatic system, and move via the bloodstream to areas of
implantation - namely, tissue, although they can only survive in skeletal
muscle where they form cysts. Typical symptoms include muscle and joint
pain, high fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, swelling of the
face, headache, fatigue and generalised swelling due to the leakage of
fluid from damaged vessels into surrounding tissue - all of which echo
Mozart's symptoms in his final throes of disease. The patient typically has
preserved mentation, although in the final stages of the disease may
develop strokes, seizures, encephalitis and coma, and death usually occurs
within the second or third week of the disease from pneumonia or from
neurological or cardiac complications. Although death is rare in our age of
medicine where a battery of drugs can restore a person to health within 5-6
weeks, in Mozart's time the disease would have been fatal. It killed 18% of
the 153 people who were infected in Hettstädt in 1863 following the 50th
anniversary celebration of the Battle of Leipzig, and 30% of the 337
afflicted in Hedersleden just two years later. If this had been the cause
of the epidemic20 that hit Vienna in the late 18th century - which caused
symptoms that matched Mozart's - it would have definitely been an unknown
disease at the time.
The only problem with this theory of course is that, while it explains
virtually all of Mozart's symptoms, it does not quite follow the
progression of Mozart's disease, assuming that the testimonies of his
witness can be relied upon. The earlier stage of the disease should have
been largely asymptomatic, but accompanied by diarrhoea and abdominal pain
as the worms lodged themselves in the intestine, it was only when the
immune system geared up against the invaders that the rash, swelling and
pain should have begun. Furthermore, despite Hirschmann's contention that
no shortness of breath had been observed, it is highly unlikely that a
cardioneurological disorder that caused Mozart's death would not be
associated with respiratory difficulty. A medical practitioner who was
consulted regarding this matter confirmed that the arrhythmia would have
brought about fluctuations in blood pressure and consequently in the amount
of oxygen transported as well, not to mention disturbances in the
bloodstream's electrolyte balance. In any event, it is inconceivable that
anyone should die of pneumonia or heart complications without suffering
Interestingly enough, Dr. Fitzgerald commented with regard to Dr.
Hirschmann's diagnosis: 'there were already 150 different theories and now
there is one more.' Is Dr. Hirschmann's diagnosis the one, or could it
possibly be 'just one more'?
Mozart had been a child prodigy who stunned royalty and public alike,
gifted with the inhuman ability of composing incredible feats of music in
impossibly short periods of time. Adored by many and yet detested by some,
Mozart certainly had the makings of an 18th century superstar. So when his
life was tragically curtailed long before his prime, it was only natural
that people should, in their mourning, romantically speculate on why and
how he died so young, when he might have been destined to accomplish so
And yet at the end of the day, it does not really matter how Mozart died.
What matters is that here was a brilliant young musician who gave the world
so much beautiful music, but did not live to see his 36th birthday. Mozart
may have been one of the greatest geniuses and the most talented musicians
history had to offer, but at the end of the day, he was still human, as we
all are - and it was his own human mortality that caught up to him in the
The author wishes to thank Dr K K Wee for his professional medical opinion
regarding the matter of Mozart's death by trichinosis - (and for concurring
with the author on the reasoning of the matter).
Adamovicz, J J, 1999. Blood and tissue helminths. In Essentials of
diagnostic microbiology (LA Shimeld ed). Delmar Publishers, USA.
Drake, N E, 1994. Rewriting Mozart's death certificate? BioScience, Vol 44.
Hirschmann, J V, 2001. What killed Mozart? Archives of Internal Medicine,
Mersmann, H (ed), 1972. Letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Translated from
German by M M Bozman. Dover Publications, Inc, NY.
Phillips, CM, Contrary to rumorus of poisoning, W.A. Mozart died of natural
causes. Library 105 Final Project.
Puech B, P-F Puech, G Tichy, P Dhellemmes et al, 1989. Craniofacial
dysmorphism in Mozart's skull. Journal of Forensic Science, Vol 34(2).
Tatham PH, 1987. Is Occam's razor disposable? [editorial]. Journal of the
Royal Society of Medicine, Vol 80.
Wright, K, 2000. Works in progress: Postmortem with strings. Discover Vol
The 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopaedia.
1 Just exactly what this epidemic was remains a mystery.
2 His cause of death had been attributed to 'severe miliary fever' -
which referred to any disease manifesting itself in the form of fever and
rash - at the time, although his obituaries mentioned 'dropsy of the
heart', which referred to oedema.
3 First-class funerals were only for aristocrats and the wealthy; the
rest of society received second or third-class funerals, which only
differed in the church ceremony, choice of bells and music, and number of
pallbearers. On the other hand, the pauper's funeral was provided free of
charge by the parish. Mozart's score of admirers would never have allowed
4 Acqua toffana, which was originally formulated by a Neapolitan woman
named Tofana, was a colourless, tasteless liquid containing arsenic. It was
sold as a cosmetic to Italian women in the 17th century as a 'miraculous
substance oozing from the tomb of St. Nicholas di Bari'; however, many
young women bought it for the purpose of hastening widowhood.
5 However, there are those who believe that Constanze's testimonies are
not reliable, as she was said to have told her audiences colourful stories
concerning Mozart's life (some of which may have been fabricated or
exaggerated), and that she had invented tragic stories in hope of securing
a pension from Emperor Joseph II.
6 Envy because Mozart was obviously more gifted, and resentment because
his accomplishments and talent seemed at odds with his childish conduct.
According to this play, Salieri felt it unjust that the sacred gift of
immortal genius seemed arbitrarily bestowed rather than being a reward for
a lifetime of toiling and devotion.
7 Whom he used to visit at her home, which was something he had
apparently never done with other students.
8 A condition where the surface of the body becomes blue due to
inadequate oxygen in the blood.
9 Intense and usually widespread reddening of the skin from dilatation
of blood vessels, often preceding, or associated with exfoliation.
10 Though why someone would wish to die of a disease that makes you
grotesquely bloated is anybody's guess. She would have done better with
11 Hey, he believed that someone was out to get him. How paranoid is
12 Davies's argument is that Mozart's progression of diseases was:
streptococcal infection - Schonlein-Henöch Syndrome - renal failure -
venesection(s) - cerebral haemorrhage - terminal bronchopneumonia. Here is
clearly a man who is against Occam's razor.
13 You'd have thought that Constanze and Sophie would have noticed it -
unless, of course, they'd piously averted their eyes each time they dressed
and undressed him. Even so, the physician who'd examined him after death
should have spotted it.
14 Petechiae, Osler nodes and Janeway lesions.
15 In fact, the percentage of people with throat infection who come
down with rheumatic fever is quite low.
16 First proposed by T. Duckett Jones in 1944 as a clinical diagnosis
of acute rheumatic fever, this at present requires the presence of two
major or one major and two minor criteria for the disease to be diagnosed
as rheumatic fever:
* Carditis, which includes enlargement of the heart, murmur,
congestive heart failure and pericarditis;
* Arthritis involving large joints;
* Firm, painless subcutaneous nodules on the extensor surfaces of
wrists, elbows and knees;
* Erythema marginatum (rash) with his long-lasting; and
* Sydenham chorea or St. Vitus’ dance, which consists of rapid
purposeless movements of the face and upper extremities.
* History of rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease
* Abnormal results of a number of tests not available in Mozart's
17 There are two ways in which polyarthritis can manifest: in a
'migratory' phenomenon (the swelling resolves in one joint before
progressing to another) and in an 'additive' fashion (the swelling affects
other joints while remain in previously-afflicted ones).
18 How delicious!
19 The worm itself was actually discovered by James Paget in 1825 when
he observed in the muscle tissue of a man who had died of tuberculosis a
large number of cysts containing worms; however, the connection between the
worms and disease was not made until 35 years later.
20 And yes, trichinosis would have been quite capable of causing an
epidemic. The haemolytic uremic syndrome epidemics that hit the United
States in the 1980s was spread by undercooked hamburger tainted with
FOR MORE on the disease, from USA's CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL READ:, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwR/preview/mmwrhtml/00001752.htm