Back to Journals » International Journal of General Medicine » Volume 7

Mitochondrial disorder caused Charles Darwin's cyclic vomiting syndrome

Authors Finsterer J, Hayman J

Received 23 September 2013

Accepted for publication 30 October 2013

Published 8 January 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 59—70

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S54846

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Josef Finsterer,1 John Hayman2

1Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftng, Vienna, Austria; 2Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Background: Charles Darwin (CD), “father of modern biology,” suffered from multisystem illness from early adulthood. The most disabling manifestation was cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). This study aims at finding the possible cause of CVS in CD.
Methods: A literature search using the PubMed database was carried out, and CD's complaints, as reported in his personal writings and those of his relatives, friends, colleagues, biographers, were compared with various manifestations of mitochondrial disorders (MIDs), known to cause CVS, described in the literature.
Results: Organ tissues involved in CD's disease were brain, nerves, muscles, vestibular apparatus, heart, gut, and skin. Cerebral manifestations included episodic headache, visual disturbance, episodic memory loss, periodic paralysis, hysterical crying, panic attacks, and episodes of depression. Manifestations of polyneuropathy included numbness, paresthesias, increased sweating, temperature sensitivity, and arterial hypotension. Muscular manifestations included periods of exhaustion, easy fatigability, myalgia, and muscle twitching. Cardiac manifestations included episodes of palpitations and chest pain. Gastrointestinal manifestations were CVS, dental problems, abnormal seasickness, eructation, belching, and flatulence. Dermatological manifestations included painful lips, dermatitis, eczema, and facial edema. Treatments with beneficial effects to his complaints were rest, relaxation, heat, and hydrotherapy.
Conclusion: CVS in CD was most likely due to a multisystem, nonsyndromic MID. This diagnosis is based upon the multisystem nature of his disease, the fact that CVS is most frequently the manifestation of a MID, the family history, the variable phenotypic expression between affected family members, the fact that symptoms were triggered by stress, and that only few symptoms could not be explained by a MID.

Keywords: hyperemesis, cyclic vomiting, fatigue, metabolic disease, mitochondrial disorder, multisystem disorder, respiratory chain

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]

 

Other articles by this author:

Mitochondrial multiorgan disorder syndrome score generated from definite mitochondrial disorders

Finsterer J, Zarrouk-Mahjoub S

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2017, 13:2569-2579

Published Date: 6 October 2017

Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy is multiorgan not mono-organ

Finsterer J, Zarrouk-Mahjoub S

Clinical Ophthalmology 2016, 10:2187-2190

Published Date: 2 November 2016

Lymphangiopathy in neurofibromatosis 1 manifesting with chylothorax, pericardial effusion, and leg edema

Finsterer J, Stollberger C, Stubenberger E, Tschakoschian S

International Journal of General Medicine 2013, 6:743-746

Published Date: 9 September 2013

Readers of this article also read:

Emerging and future therapies for hemophilia

Carr ME, Tortella BJ

Journal of Blood Medicine 2015, 6:245-255

Published Date: 3 September 2015

Green synthesis of water-soluble nontoxic polymeric nanocomposites containing silver nanoparticles

Prozorova GF, Pozdnyakov AS, Kuznetsova NP, Korzhova SA, Emel’yanov AI, Ermakova TG, Fadeeva TV, Sosedova LM

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2014, 9:1883-1889

Published Date: 16 April 2014

Methacrylic-based nanogels for the pH-sensitive delivery of 5-Fluorouracil in the colon

Ashwanikumar N, Kumar NA, Nair SA, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5769-5779

Published Date: 15 November 2012

A novel preparation method for silicone oil nanoemulsions and its application for coating hair with silicone

Hu Z, Liao M, Chen Y, Cai Y, Meng L, Liu Y, Lv N, Liu Z, Yuan W

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5719-5724

Published Date: 12 November 2012

Cross-linked acrylic hydrogel for the controlled delivery of hydrophobic drugs in cancer therapy

Deepa G, Thulasidasan AK, Anto RJ, Pillai JJ, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:4077-4088

Published Date: 27 July 2012

Crystallization after intravitreal ganciclovir injection

Pitipol Choopong, Nattaporn Tesavibul, Nattawut Rodanant

Clinical Ophthalmology 2010, 4:709-711

Published Date: 14 July 2010