Beethoven - a victim of heavy metal?

Following analysis of samples of the composer's hair and fragments of his scull, it is now thought that the discomfort and pain, which affected Beethoven from his twenties until his death at fifty-six, may have been caused by lead.

Beethoven was a lover of wine - known to have contained high levels of lead at that time - and he drank from a goblet made partially of lead. However, it is suggested that his illness might not necessarily have been a simple case of lead poisoning but rather the result of hypersensitivity to the metal.

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More research on heavy metals

First Published in May 2006

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