One thing that modern medicine affords historians is the ability to read the symptoms of historical figures and try to connect their behavior with a modern diagnosis. The madness of King George III of England is now attributed to a genetic condition known as Porphyria. Edgar Allan Poe is now believed to have died from Rabies. Now Researchers at Yale think they might have the answer to the erratic behavior of Henry VIII of England. (That’s the guy that killed two of his six wives and beefed heavily with the Catholic Church for you no-history-knowing savages.)
FROM YALE NEWS:
Traumatic brain injury explains the memory problems, explosive anger, inability to control impulses, headaches, insomnia — and maybe even impotence — that afflicted Henry during the decade before his death in 1547, according to a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience on Feb. 5.
“It is intriguing to think that modern European history may have changed forever because of a blow to the head,” said Arash Salardini, behavioral neurologist, co-director of the Yale Memory Clinic and senior author of the study.
Henry suffered two major head injuries during his 30s. In 1524, a lance penetrated the visor of his helmet during a jousting tournament and dazed him. A year later, he was knocked out when he fell head-first into a brook he was trying to vault across with a pole. However, said the researchers, the English monarch’s increasingly unpredictable behavior may have been triggered by an accident during a jousting match in January of 1536 when a horse fell on Henry, causing him to lose consciousness for two hours.
“Historians agree his behavior changed after 1536,’’ said Salardini, noting that descriptions of Henry during his youth portrayed an intelligent and even-tempered young man who made wise military and policy decisions. His behavior in the later years of his life became notoriously erratic: He was forgetful and prone to rages and impulsive decisions.
In 1546, for instance, he was assuring his sixth wife Catherine Parr, that he would not send her to the Tower of London when soldiers arrived to arrest her. He launched into a tirade against the soldiers, having forgotten that he had given that order the day before.
Other occasional side effects of traumatic brain injury are growth hormone deficiency and hypogonadism, which may lead to metabolic syndrome and impotence, respectively. Despite the womanizing reputation of his youth, Henry had difficulty completing sexual intercourse as far back as his marriage to his second wife, Ann Boleyn, in 1533, some evidence suggests.
Henry the 8th got his bell rung, more than once. A lance through a visor from a charging horse has got to cause some damage. I don’t think you need to be Dr. Bennet Omalu to figure that out. Turns out OJ Simpson and Henry VIII might have more in common than Uxoricide….you like that word Uxoricide? I had to look that bad boy up. A-Train Out.