Navigation Links
Strep Throat May Have Led to Mozart's Death

Reexamination of historical records points to an epidemic at the time,,

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- It's one of the enduring mysteries of classical music: What -- or who -- killed Mozart at the age of 35 when he was at the height of his creative powers?

Now, there's a new theory: He died of complications of strep throat.

The latest hypothesis lacks the inherent drama of murder by a rival or suicide, which have both been suggested as causes of Mozart's death. But Andrew Steptoe, co-author of a historical diagnosis published Aug. 18 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, said an infection makes the most sense, considering medical records from the time, which was Vienna in 1791.

"We have for the first time analyzed the causes of death that were prevalent over the period during which he died," said Steptoe, an epidemiologist at University College London. "This has given us ideas about what medical problems were widespread at that time, and we have been able to link this with the known facts about Mozart's death."

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, considered one of the world's most brilliant composers, died in 1791. "In the months before his death, he was busy and successful, with the 'Magic Flute' playing to packed houses, and a flow of other masterworks, including the clarinet concerto," Steptoe said. "He died after only a brief illness, and was buried with the minimum of fuss in a very modest ceremony."

Had Mozart not died, commissioned works "would surely have resulted in some amazing music, the imagined loss of which is surely a good part of what drives the continual reconsideration of the subject" of his death, said Neal Zaslaw, a Mozart specialist and a professor of music at Cornell University.

A huge gamut of theories have emerged on the subject over the centuries, including foul play (murder by fellow composer Salieri, as suggested in the multiple Oscar-winning movie "Amadeus") and suicide. The list of proposed natural causes is long, including rheumatic fever, an overdose of mercury salts used to treat syphilis, and trichinosis caused by eating improperly heated pork chops, said the new study's co-author, Dr. R.H.C. Zegers, an ophthalmologist at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Zegers, Steptoe and Andreas Welgl, from the University of Vienna, examined the records on deaths in Vienna during the month of Mozart's death as well deaths the month before and after. They also compared the records with those of other years to see if they could find anything unusual.

They found many deaths attributed to an accumulation of fluids in the body, which Mozart suffered from as he died. The study authors suspect this was caused by strep throat, which in turn might have been spread in a minor epidemic from a nearby military hospital.

Complications could have led to kidney problems, and bloodletting -- a common treatment at the time -- could have caused another infection, Zegers said.

The authors caution, however, that their diagnosis is tentative. Scarlet fever, they say, is an alternative possibility, but less likely.

Zaslaw, the music professor, has also studied Mozart's death, and he said that it's difficult to reach conclusions because of the lack of reliable documents from the time. Still, he said, the new findings "give us the possibility of reinterpreting those documents in a richer, more nuanced context."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more on strep throat.

SOURCES: Andrew Steptoe, D.Sc., professor, psychology, and deputy head, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London; R.H.C. Zegers, M.D., Ph.D., ophthalmologist, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Neal Zaslaw, Ph.D., professor, music, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Aug. 18, 2009, Annals of Internal Medicine

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Strep B Seems to Trick Immune System
2. Group B Strep Screening Guidelines Sparing Newborns
3. AdvanDx Receives FDA 510(k) Clearance for GBS PNA FISH(R) for Rapid Detection of Group B Strep from Lim Broths
4. Newly Identified Compounds May Inhibit Strep Infection
5. Diagnosing Strep Key to Curbing Rheumatic Heart Disease
6. Group B Strep Down Among Newborns, Up Among Adults
7. Scientists Engineer Protein That Could Battle Strep
8. New research from the University of Bristol aims to eliminate Streptococcus infections
9. Group B Strep: A Threat to Newborns That Doesnt Have to Be
10. Steroid Can Ease Severe Sore Throat
11. Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Strep Throat May Have Led to Mozart's Death
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... , ... Pixel Film Studios is back again with ProPanel: Pulse . ... endless. Users have full control over angle of view, speed method, start point, end ... to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse offers fully customizable pulsating shape masks, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... The rapid speed at which Americans are aging ... is needed, especially with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive conditions becoming more prevalent. ... part of this equation: 80 percent of medical care occurs in the home, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The print ... USA Today in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, with a circulation ... is distributed nationally, through a vast social media strategy and across a network ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices ... show that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated ... open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap ... Inc. and Dr. Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health ... both STEMI and Sepsis conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 --> ... to use SyMRI to find optimal contrast weighting of MRI ... metastases, and has signed a research agreement with SyntheticMR in ... hospital. Using SyMRI, it is possible to generate multiple contrast ... after the patient has left, thus making it possible to ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the Global Cell Surface Testing ... Opportunities" report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> adds "Global ... and "Investigation Report on China Repaglinide ... 2021 forecasts data and information to ... . --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: