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What is the point in common with Emily Dickinson, Carl Marx and? Jesus of Nazareth ? They've all been at the center of the trendy board game – retrospective diagnostics. These experiments, through which modern scientists use current methods of diagnosis to identify possible causes of death and historical illness, are a popular game over time for genius travelers and need to attend a medical conference. Thus theories confirmed go from reliable to farfalle, for example Julius Caesar was epileptic. Oh no, wait, he did transient ischemic attacks ! However, so far none of these attempts have relied on the DNA of the historical individual he was trying to diagnose.

Particularly because of the violent murder that broke his life, the researchers believe, they have clarified the medical advice of the tormented historical figure of the revolution. That's why they analyzed the DNA found at the crime scene 200 years ago. Not yet published was recently published on the bioRxiv site (the study has not yet been submitted for peer review). It also states that this study is the first retrospective diagnosis, which involves the genetic analysis of a historian and the earliest successful extraction of genetic material on cell paper.

At the center of this study is the blood of one of the most famous figures of the French Revolution: Jean-Paul MaratMarat's hot journalism during the 1780s in favor of revolution and especially his diary People's friend he had attracted the fervent support of the poorest Parisians and the hatred of some of the enemies of promonarchy.

Marat's physical appearance was as divisive as his political views were radical. He was recognizable among the thousands who wore long dresses called greatcoats:He wrapped his head in a scarf and wore open shirts, a style he had borrowed to the Paris Worker Class. In addition, he had visible skin disease. His contemporaries were leaping backwards because of his blisters and decomposing injuries, an evil they sometimes attributed to syphilis, and sometimes to his inflamed temperament.

His firing positions have repeatedly forced the journalist to flee. He spent several years in a hidden attic and even in the sewers of Paris to avoid his enemies. By 1793 Marat was finally able to recover and cure this disease, which made him suffer more and more. At this moment his skin had almost receded. For the past few months he has been writing and trying to relieve his itchy and swollen skin, immersing himself in his bathroom, the bathroom from which he worked and received his friends or guests for a long time. On July 13, 1793, the revolutionary was in the bathhouse for newspapers when royal supporter Charlotte Cordey invaded her home and stabbed her in the chest with a kitchen knife. The bleeding took Marat a few seconds.

The tragic murder brought Marat to the brink of revolution, and his sister took great care to keep the journals on the blood for centuries until we arrived. There are substances in blood about Marat Dermatological Disease. It is precisely this question that has prompted the interest of forensic investigator Philip Scharl, a forensic expert who seeks to uncover the mysteries of history. Is Adolf Hitler really dead? What disease was Richard Lionhart right? Thus he became associated with Spanish paleogenetics Carles Lalueza-fox Ask him if he could analyze the DNA found in Marat's blood newspapers.

To extract the sample, without damaging Marat's valuable diary, Lalueza-Fox and his colleagues developed modern forensic expertise and used the same types of swabs used to collect blood samples from crime scenes. ,

The genealogical analysis confirmed the French and Italian ancestry of Marat. However, the most fascinating DNA it wasn't one of human origin. The team identified the DNA of several non-human pathogens in the bleached section of the paper and relied on the presence of these germs at this site to rule out numerous previous diagnoses of the source of the disease. the suffering of the revolutionary.

Did Marat have syphilis, as his enemies suggested? Not at all, and the verdict is the same for leprosy, candidacy or itching. Marat misery seems to be the culprit that could cause opportunistic skin infections. Malassezia restriction,

These results, however, should be included in the context: DNA has apparently not been accepted during Marat's lifetime, and it is useless to remember the number of hands that have touched and polluted this newspaper over the years. And even if Marat's contemporaries were aware of this fungal infection (or microbiological theory), they would not be able to cure it.

Laluez-Fox says modern dermatologists can also be: Some historical evidence suggests that this fungal infection or perhaps a secondary infection was caused when Marat's immune system weakened. Malassezia:had reached the extremes that current medical supervision would never allow. "Even the most experienced dermatologists of today would never see such a virus," he says.

The study also raises another irritating question: Can DNA Only Be Diagnosed With Skin Disease? "It's a complicated question," says Lalouza-Fox. DNA can be used to identify diseases or genetic markers that indicate other diseases, but when it comes to detecting infectious diseases, DNA diagnosis is simply theirs. childhood, Lalueza-Fox: to think that fungal infection is responsible for Marat's dermatological disorder, but it is impossible to determine without examining his body.

Even the DNA of a revolutionary who repented of DNA would never have been possible. So why persistent?

Partly because health problems can affect the course of history. Marat's illness did not force him out of the revolutionary movement in 18th-century France, when his powers were at their peak. Who knows what he could do if his skin hadn't turned him into a pariah, had he not covered it in the walls of his bath? Marat's skin made her last retreat, and the pain was such that it affected her personality. "Disease could have a role in his decisions and in the way he influenced history," suggests Lalueza-Fox. “He was sick, very sick. «

This analysis is attractive to anthropologist-geneticist Miguel Villar, who is not involved in the study of the National Geographic Society and project manager. "I think it shows the technologies we have today," he notes. “We can use paleogenetics to better understand our past. «

This analysis marks the first time scientists have been able to use DNA evidence for retrospective diagnosis. Others have tried before them, but have faced difficult tasks such as historical preservation or scientific ethics. For example, about ten years ago researchers saw reject their request to analyze DNA from the preserved heart of composer Frederic Chopin. They had to do a virtual analysis and conclude that she was suffering from tuberculosis.

Perhaps others in this latest study will find the inspiration to return to the fate of historical characters through their DNA. One question remains unsolved. Is it possible to diagnose a person for centuries?

The doubt remains, says Sam Muramoto, an external neurologist and researcher at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center for Experimental Bioethics. According to him, it is not unreasonable to analyze a historian's health using DNA or other methods as long as scientists remember the interest of close relatives who are still alive. However, he qualifies these retrospective diagnoses as informed manipulation.

"It's a kind of occupational disease," Muramoto concludes. “When you have a hammer in your hand, everything is like nails. «

This article originally appeared on Nationalgeographic.com in English.

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