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Historic medical conference finds Bolivar may have been poisoned
Date:4/28/2010

easonable explanation for his death. But, at the end of the day, there are a lot of features of this illness that argue against tuberculosis. If the body were ever to be exhumed, there would be a lot of things to look at. Arsenic testing on Bolivar's tissue and hair could answer some of our questions."

"Whereas Dr. Auwaerter makes a compelling case for chronic arsenic intoxication complicated by bronchiectasis and lung cancer, I have no doubt that the controversy regarding the ideology of the general's fatal illness will continue until his remains are re-examined using modern diagnostic techniques," Philip A. Mackowiak, M.D., M.B.A., professor and vice chair of the Department of Medicine of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Chief of the Medical Care Clinical Center of the VA Maryland Health Care System. Dr. Mackowiak founded the annual CPC in 1995, and the program has since examined the lives and deaths of famous figures such as Edgar Allan Poe and Abraham Lincoln.

"Medicine is very much a field of detective work," says E. Albert Reece M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., interim president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Ordinarily, our world class faculty here at the School of Medicine are solving mysteries in the realm of human health in the laboratory and in the clinic. The CPC is a chance for our colleagues in medicine to apply our skills to history, and to revisit the state of our field centuries ago. It reminds us how far we've come, and how the groundbreaking discoveries we make every day will revolutionize medicine for future generations."

Dr. Auwaerter says he enjoyed the challenge of taking on the Bolivar mystery. "I've done a lot of background research to put these ideas together," he says. "I'm not a historian, so this is not usually my thing. But this is just the sort of puzzle I like thinking about."


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Contact: Karen Buckelew
kbuckelew@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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