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I must thank Dr Smith for his entertaining and informative case study of van Gogh. (1) It pains me to ask for caution to be used when interpreting his findings, (particularly as I love a good pun for a title).
Arnold and Loftus in 1991 calculated that one must drink 182 litres of absinthe to induce xanthopsia. (2,3,4) After that lethal load, one can only speculate that it may be difficult for Mr V...
Arnold and Loftus in 1991 calculated that one must drink 182 litres of absinthe to induce xanthopsia. (2,3,4) After that lethal load, one can only speculate that it may be difficult for Mr VG to find his muse until the affects of green liquid had thoroughly worn off.
Arnold and Loftus do make a good case for acute intermittent porphyria. (5) However as mentioned by Dr Smith, the presence of digitalis in not one but two portraits of his physician, Gachet, just seems too
perfect to ignore.
Medical SHO, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Competing Interests: I have enjoyed a glass of absinthe in Prague - but it did not cloud my judgement.
1. Smith PEM, Absinthe attacks, Practical Neurology 2006;6:376-381
2. Wolf P, Creativity and chronic disease Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) West J Med. 2001 November; 175(5): 348
3. Arnold WN and Loftus LS, Xanthopsia and van Gogh's yellow palette,Eye. 1991;5 (Pt 5):503-10
4. Arnold W, The Illness of Vincent Van Gogh, Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 2004, Vol 14: No 1, pp 22-43
5. Loftus LS and Arnold WN, Vincent van Gogh's illness: acute intermittent porphyria? BMJ. 1991 December 21; 303(6817): 1589–1591