Documentary sources show that painful joint disease afflicted several members of the Medici family, which dominated Renaissance Florence in Italy. The term frequently reported in contemporary archives to indicate these morbid episodes is “gout.” Paleopathology allows us to verify the nosological information obtained from the written documents and to clarify the nature of the rheumatological condition that afflicted the Medici. A paleopathological study carried out on the skeletal remains of several members of the Medici family buried in the basilica of S. Lorenzo in Florence demonstrated that the “gout” of the Medici was truly a uric acid gout only in Ferdinand I (1549–1609), whose left foot showed peculiar lesions. Genetic and environmental factors, with particular regard to diet, may have been involved in the etiology of this disease, which in Ferdinand was associated with diffuse idiopatic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). DISH was observed also in the column of Cosimo the Elder (1389–1464) and Cosimo I (1519–1574); a link between the incidence of DISH and high social status, especially in terms of lifestyle and nutritional patterns, has been suggested and the present study seems to further confirm this association. Finally, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was diagnosed in Cosimo the Elder, Piero “the Gouty” (1416–1469) and Cardinal Carlo (1596–1666); as for Carlo, macroscopic and radiological findings were supported by molecular results which revealed that he was bearing the specificity HLA-DR4 predisposing to RA. The coexistence of DISH and RA attested in Cosimo the Elder can be interpreted as coincidental. In conclusion, the term “gout” as used in Renaissance texts has to be regarded as the clinical manifestation of a number of different joint diseases. In the case of the Medici family in Florence, these included DISH, rheumatoid arthritis and uric acid gout.
|Autori:||Fornaciari, Gino; Giuffra, Valentina|
|Titolo:||The “Gout of the Medici”: Making the modern diagnosis using paleopathology|
|Anno del prodotto:||2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.gene.2013.04.056|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|