Talk:Health of Charles Darwin

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If anyone wishes to do further research I suggest this would be one of the most current sources of information and from a knowledgeable source:

Colp R., To be an invalid, redux. J Hist Biol. 1998 Summer;31(2):211-40 .

An anonymous user is consistently defacing Charles Darwin's illness article with lots of irrelevant material copied directly from creationism sites. I have put a NPOV warning on the article because of this and wil submit it to a vote in the community if he insists. He is turning a previously well-balanced and medical view into a rambling of religion and science which I find that cannot fit well in the article. --R.Sabbatini 20:19, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

re: the above complaint regarding my research and contribution to this article

I believe I have submitted a substantial amount of peer reviewed material at this board (JAMA, The American Journal of Medicine, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, etc. ) and offered material/studies which I believe offered insight in regards to the etiology of panic disorder. I also submitted historical research from sources like in order to clear up some historical inaccuracies (For example, Darwin was never a member of the clergy). Lastly, I have no wish to get into a lengthy argument with the above person and barring any new revelations from the above Colp article I cited above and a Lancet article which may offer further illumination, I likely am done with my research at this point. I hope Wikipedia members find my material informative and helpful in gaining understanding in regards to Darwin's illness. 7/21/2005

Important Addendum

I wish to clarify my position vis a vis some medical/science journals. It will help the above reader understand why it is important to know the personal case history of Darwin in regards to the period where he states he has emotional doubt regarding the validity of his evolutionary position and also give some background information in regards to Darwin.

Darwin's sickness as reported in The American Journal of Medicine

According to the article "The Illness of Charles Darwin" by William B. Bean in the September 1978 publication of the American Journal of Medicine rarely did a day go by where Darwin did not have in "many degrees of severity and many combinations" the following medical symptoms: nausea, severe vomiting, flatulence, alimentary canal pain, various forms of eruption of the skin, and nervous exhaustion.

Dr. Bean also noted the following symptoms obtained from a Darwin letter:

"My nervous system began to be so affected so that my hands trembled and my head was often swimming".

Dr. Bean quotes from another Darwin letter the following symptoms:

"involuntary twitching of the muscle...fainting feeling - black spots before the eyes."

Dr. Bean wrote in his article that Darwin suffered from "psychoneurosis provoked and exaggerated by his evolutionary ideas". Dr. Bean also wrote that his Darwin's wife, Emma, greatly disapproved of his evolutionist ideas and "This, facismile of public reaction, must have kept lively his anxiety and torment."

Lastly, some have claimed that Darwin got Chagas disease in South America. Dr. Bean dismisses the diagnosis of Chagras disease for Darwin's illness which has been attributed for Darwin's illness and due to the following reasons: no other member of the Beagle crew had symptoms of Chagras disease, "infection with T cruzi occurs not from a bite but contamination of a bite with excreta" and Darwin had "numerous partial exacerbations and remissions that would be unusual in the case of Chagras disease".

Darwin's illness and a Royal Society Article

The Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK. It should be noted that in the abstract for the January 1997 article, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, D. A. B. Young, "Darwin's illness and systemic lupus erythematosus" (for the full article see: Notes Rec R Soc Lond. 1997 Jan;51(1):77-86) it states that today the psychogenic view of Darwin's sickness "holds the field" . Also, the abstract stated that D. A. B. Young noted subsequent to AW Woodruff's work showing that Darwin did not likely have chagas disease, the chagas view finds little support. Even the leading proponent of Chagas disease, Dr. Saul Adler, stated that Darwin may have suffered both from chagas diseas and from "an innate or acquired neurosis" (see subsequent discussion of Chagas disease).

As can be seen in the above medical literature citations the psychogenic aspect of Darwin's illness is considered to be a extremely prominent factor. As can be seen in Dr. Bean's diagnosis some in the medical community believe Darwin's illness may be purely psychogenic in nature. I documented via Darwin's words that he had emotional doubts. Clearly emotional doubts are relevant to psychosomatic, psychogenenic, and psychobiological illness. To sweep Darwin's emotional doubts under the rug is not following good medical practice in regards to forensic diagnosis. A good diagnostic approach is to look at the total evidence including emotional doubt. Darwin's illness as demonstrated by my JAMA, and American Medical Journal, and other citations clearly shows there is a heavy psychological component of Darwin's illness and the causes of this should not be minimized or obscured. Lastly, I believe Darwin's illness is some aspect is extremely likely to be purely psychogenically caused. The eruptions of facial eczema that Dr. Colp refers to are not related to panic disorder. Dr. Colp noted that Darwin had facial eczema that often was caused by controversies over his evolutionist ideas. Also, Dr. Colp stated from what he understands, facial eczema is not one of the complaints that are among the many somatic complaints of panic disorder.

I realize that some people are ardent admirers of Mr. Darwin. I do believe, however, that it is not a valid approach to obscure relevant personal history if valid commentary is to be given in regards to a diagnosis. In short, the principle of total evidence is a sound principle when one is engaged in problem solving in relation to complex issues which Darwin's illness certainly is.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:26, 22 July 2005


The conciseness and clarity of this article was suffering from repeated and surplus text, and excessive POV. I've revamped it and will recommend removal of the VfD notice...dave souza 18:03, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Vote for Deletion[edit]

This article survived a Vote for Deletion. The discussion can be found here. -Splash 04:20, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

Remove NPOV template[edit]

I've edited the article to remove or balance POV statements, and now propose to remove the NPOV dispute template...dave souza 13:10, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

Prestigious New England Journal of Medicine weighs in[edit]

Article Title: Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, By Adrian Desmond and James Moore

Purpose: To review the book

Author: Ernst Mayr, Ph.D., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138

Citation info: New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 328:816 March 18, 1993 Number 11

Quote: "The authors deserve special praise for abstaining from rehashing long-refuted speculations, such as the theory that Darwin had Chagas' disease (although he was indeed bitten by the triatoma bugs in Argentina) or the psychoanalysts' claim that his symptoms were due to a conflict with his father."

taken from:

ken 15:56, 2 August 2005 (UTC)kdbuffalo

Are References to Creationists POV?[edit]

As someone whose work has been - for some unknown reason - labeled "creationism" (it isn't), I would like to ask the question: Why are only ALLEGEDLY creationist comments and views identified as coming from a particular ideology?
In my personal view the idea that Darwin suffered remorse for his sinfulness is indeed a "non-starter". But why do I need to be told that this is a supposedly "creationist" claim (as if it didn't speak for itself)?
Are other comments and claims labeled according to whether they come from agnostics, atheists, humanists, Latter Day Leninist Trotskyites, etc?
My own observations on Darwin, and the primary filter through which I have tended to assess the potential usefulness of evidence is that of someone trained first as a social psychologist and later as a hypnotherapist. Since these areas of study have undoubtedly had a significant influence on my views, if comments by creationists are to be labeled as such, shouldn't my contributions be marked "shrink", or some similarly deprecating label?

And are we to suppose that people who find their way to this article are so ignorant and/or stupid that they need to have it pointed out to them when anything POSSIBLY from a creationist source appears on the page?

I submit that this highly discriminatory practice is neither NPOV, nor even useful, no matter how irritating some people may find views which do not coincide with their own. On the contrary, I suggest that it is fairly patronising, not to say arrogant, to suppose that readers aren't capable of figuring this out for themselves, and that people cannot think clearly on some subject just because they adhere to some branch of organised religion.
In a truly rational discussion one deals with the IDEAS presented, and evaluates them on their own merits rather than trying to influence the outcome by sticking labels on the source of the idea.

BTW, since completing my website I have received a number of e-mails from academics who wouldn't touch creationism with a barge pole, yet who feel that they are being seriously discriminated against just because they refuse to agree that Darwin's ideas are absolutely the last word on all things evolutionary. One very good reason NOT to assume that someone is coming from a "creationist" background unless there is solid, independent evidence to support that hypothesis.

For a genuinely NPOV article I suggest that ALL references to writers' idealogical/religious preferences, real or imagined, should be removed except where a quote or comment is referenced as coming from a specific source which can be unambiguously identified as having such a POV (e.g. a recognized creationist organization or publication).

For this reason, whilst leaving all of the external links intact, I have removed the division between "external links" and "creationist links". I honestly think readers, if they check the links at all, and if they give a hoot, will be able to figure out for themselves which ones are the creationists.
Andy Bradbury 18:56, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Your articles re-spout arguments about Darwin's priority issues which are usually seen in creationist screeds; it is not hard to see why someone might have considered it to be in the same category. In any case I've restored the subhead though moved your article out of it. (In the end, I should note, I don't think that historical questions about Darwin have anything much to do with whether or not Darwinism as a whole is or is not correct.)
As for the bigger question, identifying potential biases in sources in articles of a controversial nature is very much in line with our NPOV policy. It is not POV to point out that a source is coming from a fringe and ideological point of view. Neutrality requires attribution of views, and there are some instances where lump attribution makes sense when categorizing sources. People can draw their own conclusions just the same; knowing that the author is a creationist, though, can give important clues about whether or not they are reliable, whether they use sources well, and whether or not they should accept their argument as intellectually honest. All of the other links in that category are clearly self-identified as creationist; I don't think our adding that label as a form of categorization changes much. --Fastfission 18:52, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
As someone who apparently wrote the article referred to, Andy, you seem a bit careless about the question mark emphasised in the website. Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Self-published sources as policy requires great care in using such websites, though there is an argument for using them to illustrate a particular viewpoint. Your use of language such as "evolutionists already know that simple "natural selection", no matter whose idea it was, does not explain how full-blown macro-evolution can occur." is very much aligned with Creationist usage: accepting that you may be taking some other position, I've modified the subhead. ...dave souza, talk 19:41, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

To Fastfission:
You write: "I don't think our adding that label as a form of categorization changes much."
In which case, why are you arguing that it should be left in?

Actually the lack of clear thinking in these comments is evident right from the opening words, specifically in regard to the phrase "your articles re-spout". If one wished to be objective and rational, as opposed to emotional, insulting and steeped in your own personal biases, why would one use a perjorative term like "spout"? And what's the point of "usually seen"? Are such ideas ONLY seen on creationist sites? Of course not. It is purely personal bias which leads one to make the assumption that if a comment resembles something on a creationist website then this author, too, must be a creationist. What kind of sloppy thinking is THAT?

Or again, what is meant by "a fringe and ideological point of view"? From one POV or another, EVERY viewpoint is questionable.
Are we to take this to mean that argument depends on the argument that the majority are always right (a well-known logical fallacy)? Is this a serious suggestion that some people have NO ideological/religious views as far as this subject area is concerned? Surely it is clear that being opposed to either creationism or evolutionism is just as much a religious/ideological standpoint as being in agreement with creationism or evolutionism?
(BTW, in the UK English dictionary "evolutionism" means nothing more than believing that the theory of evolution is correct.)

I would also point out that if anyone who has indeed read my site will be aware that it is HEAVILY referenced, and that the starting point for my investigation was a book by a thoroughly reputable scientist - Professor Loren Eiseley. (Whether anyone else chooses to agree with the conclusions drawn by Prof. Eiseley and/or myself regarding Darwin is something else again.) Professor Eiseley was most certainly NOT a creationist, nor even a doubter of evolution.
As top what someone might or might not have "considered", that would depend on whether they evaluate ideas on their own merits, or simply think in headlines and slogans. An unfortunate symptom of falling educational standards in both the US and the UK. (My website on the Scopes Trial of 1925 details a growing list of examples of flawed research/deliberate misrepresentation of the facts of that event by a string of US academics, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and even a publication of the American Congress.)

As to whether Darwinism as a whole is or is not correct, are we to suppose that our understanding of evolution has not advanced one whit since 1859? Surely not.
My article is about whether it still makes sense to refer to Darwin as though he were the font of all wisdom on the subject of evolution - or whether he has been used by certain people as an excuse to prevent genuine advances in that field of investigation.

That, too, is made quite plain in m article. Though I agree one would have had to read it all the way through to know that.

Finally, we find the claim: "I don't think that historical questions about Darwin have anything much to do with whether or not Darwinism as a whole is or is not correct."

And the point is?
The Wiki page we are discussing has to do with Darwin's health/ill-health - NOT with Darwinism.
Again, there appears to be a tendency in these comments to lump things together and oversimplify everything, instead of identifying individual ideas and evaluate each in its own right.
This looks, to me, like a clear case of "dumbing down"?

Dave: Careless about the question mark?
Considering that it was me who added the question mark into the reference on this page I find the meaning of this comment utterly obscure. My site presents evidence and draws a conclusion BUT I make it clear that this is my PERSONAL interpretation of the evidence and that readers should draw their own conclusions.

As to the quote: "evolutionists already know that simple "natural selection", no matter whose idea it was, does not explain how full-blown macro-evolution can occur." - I should point out that this was based, at least in part, on the work of Professor Brian Goodwin, a convinced evolutionist and one of the earliest proponents of the now widely used organizing system known as cladistics. Professor Goodwin's book "How the Leopard Changed His Spots" (now published by Princeton Science Library, BTW) is devoted to this subject.
Again, whether anyone chooses to agree with Professor Goodwin's views, or not, the point is that they have NOTHING to do with supporting creationism.
Like Fastfission's comments, this appears to be an example of bias which seeks to pigeon-hole everything that isn't ideologically acceptable, instead of evaluating ideas in their own right.

My question still stands - why is it NPOV to label creationist comments as being from that source (even if the link is purely the fruit of sloppy thinking) - yet no one else's comments/claims/statements are labeled according to relevant influence(s)?
Andy Bradbury 08:19, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Presumably you'd then be content if the other sources are labelled "Mainstream science". I'd have no objection to that. Your website has an analysis or synthesis of published arguments, concepts, data, ideas, or statements that serves to advance a position (see WP:NOR) which you object to being described as creationist, but just happens to match a common creationist position and is clearly not mainstream science. .. dave souza, talk 08:54, 26 September 2006 (UTC)


I'm no expert. But the vagueness and multiplicity of the symptoms - malaise, vertigo, dizziness, muscle spasms and tremors, vomiting, cramps and colics, bloating depression etc.- is similar to that described by celiac disease sufferers. With celiac it is usually difficult for sufferers to establish a causal relationship because of the ubiquity of the offending grains in the diet (I imagine this could also be the case in Darwin's time) and it may take several years of misdiagnosis -hypochondria, depression, lyme etc to arrive at the correct one. Gomez3000adams 05:30, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, it's an interesting speculation but of course we can't add original research to the article, and would need a verifiable source directly relating the diagnosis to Darwin. Ta again, .. dave souza, talk 09:05, 30 April 2007 (UTC) correction09:13, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes of course, this probably isn't the correct forum to post such speculation. I'm merely shooting in the wind hoping some more astute researcher might explore the angle Gomez3000adams 17:57, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Religion is relevant?[edit]

The section on Darwin's religious views makes no mention of how religion might have caused his disease, so I don't see why it should be in this article. While interesting, there is already an article on Darwin's religious views. Unless serious objections are voiced, I'm inclined to remove that section. OcciMoron 15:08, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

I second that Gomez3000adams (talk) 17:38, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Darwin's experiences with Dr. James Manby Gully[edit]

Friends, the information in this article at present on Darwin's experiences with Dr. Gully deserve more detail. As you will see, I have gathered [WP:RS]] and [[WP:V] information. I hope that others will work with me to integrate this information within the article.

Although Charles Darwin was only 39 years old in November, 1848, he was so ill that he couldn't attend his own father's funeral. In March, 1849, Darwin himself acknowledged that he was unable to work one day in every three, and further, he felt that he was dying. He said this specifically, "I was not able to do anything one day out of three, & was altogether too dispirited to write to you or to do anything but what I was compelled. I thought I was rapidly going the way of all flesh." [1]

Darwin’s cousin, [William Fox], recommended that Darwin seek out the care of Dr. [James Manby Gully], an author of a popular book on water-cure. Although Darwin knew that Dr. Gully also prescribed homeopathic medicines, he was skeptical of homeopathy. On March 19, 1849, Darwin wrote, “I grieve to say that Dr Gully gives me homeopathic medicines three times a day, which I take obediently without an atom of faith.”[2] It is uncertain if water-cure and/or homeopathic medicines had a powerful effect, but something did. On March 28, 1849, he had not have any vomiting for 10 days (a rare experience for him). By April 19, 1849, Darwin wrote, “I now increase in weight, have escaped sickness for 30 days, which is thrice as long an interval, as I have had for last year; & yesterday in 4 walks I managed seven miles! I am turning into a mere walking and eating machine.”[3]

Darwin's symptoms of nausea and vomiting returned, and he suffered with varying degrees of intensity from this indigestion throughout his life, though after leaving Gully's clinic, he no longer complained about fainting spells, spots before his eyes, or the degree of fatigue that he had previously experienced. DanaUllmanTalk 06:18, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for coming back on this, the section could do with considerable filling out. However, as we've discussed elsewhere, your presentation is based on primary sources and breaches WP:NOR in synthesising the argument that homeopathy was particularly significant. This seems unsupported in the light of the similar success of treatment at Dr. Lane's hydrotherapy, and the failure of Dr. Gully's treatment in 1863. The letter when he was 56 cited here seems to contradict your assertion about him no longer complaining about certain symptoms. I've got some relevant secondary sources bookmarked, and hope to return to this subject shortly. ... dave souza, talk 09:26, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanx for the thanx...and for also realizing that we need to fill out info on Darwin and Gully. My links to Darwin's letters are straight-forward, verified, and certainly reliable. I wrote above that he was still a sick "cookie" and not "cured" of his indigestion by Gully, though he never again wrote that he was so sick that he couldn't work one day in every three (as he did earllier). Darwin did re-visit Gully clinic in 1863, though didn't he see Dr. James Smith Ayerst (another homeopathic physician) who took over Gully's practice? In any case, I'm glad to work with you on this. DanaUllmanTalk 14:18, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I had forgotten about this article until today. I look forward to working with others to provide both primary and secondary sources here. First, however, I would like to get some clarity about biographical material and OR. If I am quoting from the person about which this article is focussed, is this really OR? DanaUllmanTalk 06:22, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes. See WP:NOR#Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources and WP:NOR#Synthesis of published material serving to advance a position . . dave souza, talk 23:48, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Hey've been editing various Darwin articles for a while, so I respect your opinion on my new question: Why is it that there are so many references allowed to Darwin's letters, and yet, when I posted something in the past with a reference to one of his letters, it was deleted for OR? Something is funny here. DanaUllmanTalk 19:10, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Maybe it is the way you add quotes - like by adding them with a lot of editorializing or OR etcetc... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Dr Edmund Smith[edit]

The reference given to support the description of Dr Edmund Smith as "a homeopathic physician" does not do this. The letter on the page of The correspondence of Charles Darwin referred to is Letter 2502 on the Darwin Correspondence Project[4] (wouldn't it be better to refer to the online version of the same text so that others can more easily check it for themselves?), and says, "Dr Smith, I think, is sensible, but he is a Homœopathist!! & as far as I can judge does not personally look much after patients or anything else." We do not know whether, by "he is a Homœopathist!!" Darwin means he practices as a homoeopathic doctor, uses homoeopathy as an adjunct to the "Water Cure", or is merely a supporter of homoeopathy. The description of Smith as "a homeopathic physician" is not supported - this looks like OR or SYN. A footnote to the letter says that several hydropathic doctors, such as J.M. Gully, also used homoeopathy; not that they were also "homeopathic physicians". Darwin, by the way, seems not to have had a very high opinion of Smith. In another letter[5] he says, "I doubt whether Dr Smith would have suited you: they all say he is very careful in bad illness; but he constantly gives me impression, as if he cared very much for the Fee & very little for the patient." Is it worth mentioning Darwin's opinion of Smith in the article? Brunton (talk) 19:42, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I would also question whether, in the absence of any evidence that he acted as a homoeopath for Darwin, Smith's status as a homeopath is relevant in an article about Charles Darwin's illness and treatment. If there is a consensus to reinstate this, I would also question the use of the term "homeopathic physician" rather than simply "homeopath". This is hardly current usage, and the word "physician" is redundant as the article has already established that Smith was a doctor. The current descrition of Smith as a "surgeon and hydropathic doctor" is derived from a RS. Brunton (talk) 10:10, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

An Explanation for Dyspepsia[edit]

The symptoms of abdominal pain and vomiting sound a lot like the experience of hiatus hernia, where the stomach protruded through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. The symptoms are exacerbated by meals and by tension arising from stress. Given that Darwin was fearful of becoming a social and scientific outcast for most of his life until the Royal Society began to be dominated by evolutionists in the decade before his death, he certainly suffered from stress. A social shyness with strangers that probably was the cause of his hermit-like existence at Downe village would also have been a source of stress when visiting strangers had to be received. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hfinger (talkcontribs) 02:40, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the thoughts, however "no original research" policy means that we can only add such information if they can be verified as published by a reliable source. It's worth reading Browne on his life at Downe, which was certainly not "hermit like". . . dave souza, talk 08:16, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Was Darwin's Illness Caused by Helicobacter Pylori?[edit]

The newest theory (12th Feb 2009 GMT) comes from Barry Marshall who maintains that Darwin actually had the ulcer causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori- the discovery for which Warren and I won the Nobel Prize in 2005. Actually, almost everyone had this gastric infection in Victorian England so one can hardly argue that Darwin did not have it. The ubiquitous bug causes ulcers in 10% of infected persons and causes dyspepsia in another 10% or so. Helicobacter explains Darwin's lifelong illness. I will have time to update this post in the coming weeks but cannot provide a definitive reerence until my speculations are published elsewhere. So far the paper has been rejected, which, with my track record, could be a plus. Upon reflection and review of these pages however, one can see that the whole entry is one of speculation based on opinion. I need not repeat what is already posted, suffice to say that much of it could be Helicobacter and/or peptic ulcer. A review of epidemiology of Helicobacter and Ulcer in the 19th century, by Sonnenberg, is here. Barjammar (talk) 07:07, 13 February 2009 (UTC) Barry Marshall (barjammar)

Multiple Sclerosis[edit]

This observation is purely personal. I have multiple sclerosis. I have or have had the same symptoms as Darwin. Optic neuritis (black spots before the eyes, as cited above) which I have had, is considered by some to be diagnostic of the disorder. My Flatley (talk) 05:50, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Sorry to hear that. As you'll know, MS is very variable and for us to include the possibility, we'd need published verification that it's been put forward by an appropriate expert. My own feeling is that van Wyhe is right to say in his recent biography that "we will probably never know exactly what he suffered from". . . dave souza, talk 09:41, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Chagas – re cause of illness[edit]

copied from Talk:Charles Darwin

In response to the cause of Darwins illness is suspected to be Chagas transmitted by a blood sucking bug. it would make perfect sense considering that he suffered from heart palpitations. I also saw a piece on Darwin where they suspected that it was a manchuka bug. I can not seem to find that specific name but that was what the locals referred to as manchuka bug (the show I was watching.) When this bug was shown it looks exactly like a triatomine bug aka the kissing bug. I have included some reference on this bug. If I am correct in saying there should be in Darwin`s journal(s) from his time in south america, he apparently mentions that during one night he was bit by this supposed bug. Since the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention state that triatomine bugs do carry the protozone parasite symbioticly in there system, it would also make sense. it is suspected that several million have Chagas, most do not know they have it.
The centres for disease control and prevention mention the possible ways to get chagas is the bug defacating on you after being bit, eating food that wasnt properly cooked with the fecal matter of the bug in the food, congenitally, accidental lab exposure, blood transfusion or organ transplant. considering he was having stomach and heart problems which are linked to chagas, being bit by this bug makes the most sense.
The only way to be sure is either finding some autopsy of Darwin or confirming if his journals report this.
triatomine bug
kissing bug
centres for disease control and prevention: chagas
detailed info on chagas from cdc
from ~~elle quence~~ (i do apologize if anything in my post is not in compliance with wiki, first post and still getting use to where everything is) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elle quence (talkcontribs) 04:59, 18 April 2009
Thanks, we've got to be careful to avoid adding previously unpublished research or conclusions, and can't put together unrelated articles unless they specifically make the suggestion that this was the cause of Darwin's own problems. The balance of opinion is that the cause will remain unknown, as a new autopsy is most unlikely to happen. Anyway, it's worth looking over this article to see if our discussion of the issue can be improved. . .dave souza, talk 08:46, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Stay at Ilkley[edit]

The article text is a bit confusing. My understanding is that when he first went to Ilkley he stayed at Wells House spa. Later, when his family came up to join him, he stayed with them at nearby North View House, Wells Terrace (now Hillside Court, Crossbeck Road). 25 May 2009. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:15, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for raising this, the text did seem a bit unclear. Going by Freeman, from Oct.2–Dec.7 he was at Wells Terrace, Ilkley (CD there when Origin published),[6] and "Ilkley nr Otley, Yorkshire. 1859 Autumn CD to water cure there, stayed at Wells Terrace. CD was there when Origin was published."[7] The Correspondence Project describes Dr Smith as "Proprietor of Ilkley Wells hydropathic establishment, Ilkley,"[8] so I've clarified it on that basis. If you've a source for the two part move, we can cite that and modify the statement accordingly. . . dave souza, talk 12:53, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Here is the info:

Darwin Correspondence Project Letter 2502: to W.D.Fox, from Wells House, 6 Oct 1859. CD has a sitting room and bedroom at Wells House and mentions that he as received a letter from Emma Darwin asking him to find a house nearby so that she can come to Ilkley. Letter 2498: to William Darwin, from North House, Wells Terrace, 14 Oct. CD mentions that the family will join him there in a few days time. 25 May 2009. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:53, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Good stuff, have clarified the article a bit using these sources. Tnanks muchly, dave souza, talk 21:57, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Here is a nice view of Ilkley from behind White Wells House, with Wells House and Wells Terrace (Hillside Court) visible at the bottom of the moor. 8 June 2009. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:14, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
Very informative photo, obviously it's under copright but if a Wikipedian takes their own photo and uploads it (it has to be under a suitable "free license") that would make a good illustration of the article, unfortunately the current Ilkley photos don't seem to include White Wells House or Wells Terrace. . dave souza, talk 10:48, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Other possible causes[edit]

There's a lot of what appears to be Original Research in this section - will remove the reasoning, and leave only the cited sources in a while. If anybody knows of good research into these causes (or even links to relevant people positing them) then put 'em in! BananaFiend (talk) 16:02, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Papers relating to Darwin's illness will appear in the Christmas (2009) editions of the British Medical Journal and The Medical Journal of Australia and will be available on line. Darwin had the Cyclic (Cyclical) Vomiting Syndrome, a well-defined but little known disorder associated with mtDNA abnormalities. Look up the entry in Wikipedia, go to the CVSA website/ forums, type any of Darwin's symptoms into the search engine and see what comes up. For example, try 'eczema'. Haymanj (talk) 18:42, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Since the paper has been published, this Cyclic vomiting syndrome possibility seems better supported than the others in this section, and could merit a subsection of its own. Disclaimer: I helped review the outline historical aspects of the paper, but make no claim to any medical knowledge and, if anything, share the view of historians such as John van Wyhe that we'll never really know what the illness was. Any expert commentary on the paper will be welcome. . . dave souza, talk 20:35, 13 January 2010 (UTC)


I wrote in the edit summary that there's a whole article about darwin and religion and I'm just trying to make this article to the point but the system didn't accept what I wrote for some reason.

So if there are no objections Im going to change the article back now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:41, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Your changes were reverted by various editors, not by "the system", so if you want your edit to stick, please make the case for the change here in accordance with WP:TALK and get consensus before making the change. Thanks, . dave souza, talk 09:14, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Vote for change to the opening of the article[edit]

The opening states "leaving him severely debilitated for long periods of time, incapable of normal life and intellectual production." This statement has no source and I strongly doubt that this is true. I vote we delete this, or find a reliable source to support it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Averagejoedev (talkcontribs) 17:12, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it seems rather exaggerated, though Darwin was clearly debilitated for significant periods. The quote doesn't come up in searches in DarwinOnline or the letter project, so have removed it and substituted "in some ways this may have helped his work" with a quote which already appears in the context of that issue, plus a new more direct citation. Thanks for your comments, dave souza, talk 22:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Palpitations pre start of voyage[edit]

This was cited to Woodruff AW (1990). "Darwin's illness". Isr. J. Med. Sci. 26 (3): 163–4. PMID 2109737.  but I can't get access to that. More usefully, Woodruff 1968 shows the source to be CD's autobio p. 64 so will cite them instead. . dave souza, talk 08:57, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Crohn's disease - case closed?[edit]

It now seems pretty certain that Darwin suffered from Crohn's disease. This was proposed in 2007 in the Royal society Journal of the History of Science,[9] and in a Channel 4 Documentary broadcast today it was confirmed by Professor Stephan Schuster who sequenced part of his genome and found "a total of twenty-one markers for Crohn’s disease, five of them being diagnostic, including the major marker on chromosome 16".[10] I'm no expert but that sounds pretty conclusive to me. How is the best way to present this in the article - is it case closed? Richerman (talk) 23:09, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Chronic Fatigue?[edit]

I suffer from chronic fatigue and think Darwin might have, too.

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Another possibility not so far listed is Vestibular Migraine. I suggest this would account for many of his more chronic recurrent symptoms and the cyclical nature of his illness. It would certainly explain his problem with protracted seasickness, which can be a trigger for vestibular migraine. This type of migraine is less commonly associated with headache which is not a major feature of Darwins illness. Putting aside the daily flatulence in the description below the majority of the symptoms are common to vestibular migraine.

"For 25 years extreme spasmodic daily & nightly flatulence: occasional vomiting, on two occasions prolonged during months. Vomiting preceded by shivering, hysterical crying, dying sensations or half-faint. & copious very palid urine. Now vomiting & every paroxys[m] of flatulence preceded by singing of ears, rocking, treading on air & vision. focus & black dots – All fatigues, specially reading, brings on these Head symptoms ??" [31]

Migraine is a disabling condition and often associated with significant psychological distress including symptoms of anxiety. Precipitants include stress and motion sickness both associated with Darwins condition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Seabeggar (talkcontribs) 09:59, 27 February 2018 (UTC)