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Not Napoleon’s Trouble

In response to:

Boney from the November 3, 1966 issue

To the Editors:

In his review published in The New York Review of Books of November 3, 1966, J.H. Plumb states that “…he [Napoleon] was unwell, suffering from acromegaly…” This statement is false. Acromega’y results from excess growth hormone production by a pituitary gland tumor. In an adult this is manifest clinically by, among other things, gross changes in facial features together with overgrowth of feet, hands, and head, frequently requiring an increase in the size of gloves, shoes, and hat. There is absolutely no evidence that Napoleon was afflicted by such a disorder.

Jules Eli Harris, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)

M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute

The University of Texas

Houston

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