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Henry VIII May Have Suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries

Friday, March 04, 2016

Henry VIII brain injury NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT—Historians have suggested that Henry VIII, who had been described as an even-tempered and intelligent young man, may have suffered traumatic brain injuries that caused lasting health and behavioral problems. Muhammad Qaiser Ikram and Fazle Hakim Saijad of Yale University analyzed Henry’s letters and other historical sources for information on his medical history and events that could explain his ailments. While in his 30s, Henry was injured during a jousting tournament when a lance penetrated his visor, and he received another blow to the head while attempting to pole-vault over a brook. In 1536, a horse fell on him during jousting match and the king was unconscious for two hours. “Historians agree his behavior changed after 1536,” behavioral neurologist Arash Salardini said in a press release. Salardini and his team argue that traumatic brain injury offers a better explanation for Henry’s memory problems, explosive anger, inability to control impulses, headaches, insomnia, and perhaps even impotence than other ailments that have been suggested, such as syphilis, diabetes, and Cushing Syndrome. To read about archaeology at one of Henry VIII's royal estates, go to "The Many Lives of an English Manor House."

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