Darwin’s Mysterious Illness

by Robert Youngson

For most of his working life, Charles Darwin suffered from a chronic and debilitating illness which remained undiagnosed during his lifetime. More recently, there has been considerable speculation on the nature of his condition. Seasickness, heart disease, hypochondria, psychosomatic disorder, Chagas’ disease, and anxiety neurosis have all at one time or another been proposed as candidates for the illness, but no decisive diagnosis has up to now emerged. In Darwin’s Mysterious Illness, Dr. Youngson, physician and writer, considers the historical and medical evidence and comes to an original and surprising conclusion.

Robert Youngson graduated in medicine from the University of Aberdeen and went on to become consultant ophthalmic surgeon and physician. After retiring, he took up writing and has published over 35 books, including Collins Dictionary of Medicine, Medical Curiosities, and Scientific Blunders.