Darwin Diagnosed


Darwin Diagnosed

The 2014 Darwin Lecture, organised in partnership with The Royal Society of Medicine

18:00 Thursday 2nd October 2014


While waiting in digs to join HMS Beagle just before Christmas 1831, Charles Darwin suffered severe heart palpations. Fearing he had had a heart attack, Darwin told no one least he was not allowed on his voyage of a lifetime. For five years on the Beagle, Darwin had no more trouble, except seasickness and a severe fever in South America. However, on returning to England, marrying, and moving to London, he began suffering from a wide range of gut and systemic symptoms that would affect him for the rest of his life, ultimately forcing him to move out on London to the quiet village of Downe, Kent.

Despite claims of arsenic poisoning, Chagas’ disease and various descriptive gut ailments, Darwin’s symptoms have never been diagnosed…until now.

Tonight, Professor Anthony K Campbell will show that Darwin’s 50-year symptoms match exactly those of lactose and food intolerance, a condition implicated in some of the most common problems seen by GPs today - irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as the type 2 diabetic epidemic, and Parkinson’s disease.

Lactose intolerance also has fascinating things to tell us about evolution - the origin of the unique sugar in milk, why only certain humans were able to colonise the planes of Europe 10,000 years ago, and one of the most intriguing problems in evolution – the origin of a new enzyme.

This meeting is free and open to all; registration is not necessary. Tea and coffee will be served in the Library from 17:30 and a wine reception will follow.

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