Thursday, June 12, 2008

Science Debunks Popular Napoleon Murder Theory

Legend holds Napoleon was poisoned while in exile by a lethal dose of arsenic. Supporters of the tale pointed to evidence in his hair samples. But recent analysis of Napoleon's hair from four stages in his life show the arsenic level in his body was no higher at the time of death than any other period, reports the NY Times.

As it turns out, Napoleon carried 100-times the amount of arsenic in his body as modern people do. That's probably because the geniuses back then figured arsenic was "a general tonic," "a popular cure-all." Brilliant. The poison was also added to paints, tapestries, medicine and food preservatives.

Arsenic can stimulate metabolism, and it's not so deadly if small doses are ingested regularly. But if you plan on using arsenic to shed a few pounds (do not do this), beware arsenic poisoning can lead to "violent stomach pains," vomiting blood, burning pain in the urinary organs as well as "red and sparkling" eyes (of course!), reads
the Wikipedia entry on arsenic poisoning.

How did Napoleon die? Stomach cancer, most likely, according to Wikipedia.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.