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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, July 21, 2008
Spotlight on Family Health History--The Photo Side
Posted by Maureen

There was a very interesting story about Pio Pico, California's last governor under Mexico, in the July 19 Los Angeles Times. "What made Pio Pico so, well, ugly?" focuses not on the political happenings of his administration, but on how a daguerreotype of him helped identify a medical condition. It's fascinating!

A neurologist compared a daguerreotype of Pico taken in 1852 with a painting of him from 1847 and another photograph from 1858. This doctor believes Pico had a condition called acromegaly, a pituitary tumor that caused his face to become mishapen. The pictorial evidence showed when he first became afflicted and when the pituitary tumor stopped growing. It's a great family photo tale.

I've received several photographs from readers of individuals with obvious medical conditions or dental problems. I'm busy tracking down the clues in those images—he evidence in those photos may be pertinent to the owners' own health history.

If you have a medically related photograph, e-mail it to me. I'd love to see it. 

The Mütter Museum was founded by the College of Physicans of Philadelphia to help educate physicians. While their digital database currently contains images only of doctors, according to their Web site, the picture collection "contains images from the history of medicine, including portraits, buildings, groups, and historical subjects." A photo book, Mutter Museum Historic Medical Photographs (Blast Books, $50) is available. Be prepared: Some of the images are disturbing.


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Monday, July 21, 2008 4:59:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]