Re:Composing causes of death and disease

Manuel Vazquez Caruncho, Radiologist,

Other Contributors:

February 21, 2011

We thank van Bodegom and Engelaer for their interesting letter. They pose a fundamental philosophic and practical issue in modern medicine: causation. Nevertheless, we did not intend to elaborate a causal network of the diseases of Chopin. Our aim was to find an explanation to a few biographical accounts of the composer and make a retrospective clinical diagnosis. Our diagnostic guess is a syndromic one as we can't provide any causal diagnosis. We do believe that Chopin suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, but we do not know of any clue to conclude if his epilepsy was primary or secondary. We do not know if he could have had febrile convulsions during his infancy or childhood, or an arteriovenous malformation, or mesial temporal lobe sclerosis, or any other cause of secondary epilepsy, and we will never know. Notwithstanding, we know of some possible seizure triggers, such as fever, late nights, playing difficult music, and so on. We agree with van Bodegom and Engelaer that a single cause of disease is not appropriate for explaining most of the human diseases. Chopin suffered from other diseases that ultimately caused his death. Analising his health status and the relationship among his sufferings is an interesting topic, but it was not the aim of our article.

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared