SAN DIEGO, April 22, 2012 Frida Kahlo's many haunting self-portraits have been studied by experts for decades, have attracted worldwide attention and have sold for millions of dollars at auction. Yet, despite the fact that Kahlo's work focuses largely on anatomy and failed reproduction attempts, relatively little attention has been paid to Kahlo's own body and infertility.
Intrigued by the messages manifested in Kahlo's work and surprised by the apparent lack of interest by scientists in Kahlo's clinical condition, Fernando Antelo, a surgical pathologist at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center, set out to reassess the condition that caused Kahlo's infertility and inspired some of her greatest pieces.
"While art historians and journalists have written extensively on Kahlo's life and artwork, there is a lack of scientific comment by physicians who have written only a handful of papers on her health," Antelo explained. "To add a twist of irony, none of these medical papers have focused on Kahlo's infertility."
Antelo recently conducted a review of both Kahlo's medical history and her artwork, and on Sunday, April 22, he will present findings at the American Association of Anatomists Annual Meeting indicating that Kahlo's infertility was due to a condition known today as Asherman's syndrome. The AAA annual meeting is part of the Experimental Biology 2012 conference.
About Asherman's syndrome
As a teen, Kahlo was in a streetcar accident during which a metal handrail penetrated her abdomen. "The trauma severely damaged her skeletal framework and internal organs including erman's syndrome was first described in 1894. Today, in most cases, it occurs as a result of a common minor surgical procedure known as dilation and curettage to clear out the uterine cavity after childbirth, miscarriage or abortion.
"When the basal layer of the endometrium undergoes significant damage, scar tissue forms within t
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Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology