Monday, February 11, 2008

Arsenic Poisoning Ruled Out in Napoleon Cold Case

We're always interested in learning about the deaths of the famous people who lived before the inaugural year of DP. After all, their famous deaths paved the way for the famous deaths of 2008.

With some of those deaths come unaswered questions. What were Gandhi's last words? Who did Abe Lincoln leave his possessions to? And what exactly did Napoleon die of?

While we may never know the real answers to the first questions, some Italian researchers have set out to disprove the myth that the French leader died from arsenic poisoning.

"It's not arsenic poisoning that killed Napoleon at Saint Helena," said the National Nuclear Physics Institute (INFN) after what it called a "new meticulous examination" of the emperor's hair, that of his first wife and his son, Napoleon II.

Theories abound about the cause of the emperor's death, aged 51 on May 5 1821, ranging from stomach cancer to arsenic poisoning.
Napoleon did have a detectable level of arsenic in his body, though that was not uncommon at the time of his death in 1821. It was not enough to kill the man.

Might we suggest...alcohol overdose? Or maybe he ate too many of his eponymous pastries.

[News 24]

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