Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Theory on Mozart's Cause of Death

A researcher has theorized that vitamin D deficiency led to Mozart's death. While the theory can't be proven, William Grant has argued that the many ailments from which Mozart suffered can be caused by lack vitamin D, and these afflicted him during times of the year when Austria gets limited sunlight. Exposure to sunlight enables the body to produce vitamin D.


What does this have to do with the library? A few things. If you are interested in reading the study on which Grant's theory is based, you can access the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists through the International Index to Music Periodicals database:

Dawson, William J., "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart--Controversies Regarding His Illnesses and Death: A Bibliographic Review." Medical Problems of Performing Artists 25:2 (June 2010) p. 49-53.

Another library-related issue is a concept that we teach in our library instruction sessions for LENG-201, which is to consider the authority and possible biases of a researcher. The Discovery News article notes that Grant "is not a doctor, but is affiliated with the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, a pro-vitamin D research and education association." It is difficult to give much weight to his theory when it isn't possible to prove that it is correct and Grant's affiliation implies bias on the subject.

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