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What Killed Alexander the Great?

In 323 BCE, Alexander the Great died suddenly at the very young age of 32. This month, more than 2,300 years later, Dr Katherine Hall of the University of Otaga in New Zealand gives a very strong argument that he died of nerve damage from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Alexander never lost a battle and was one of the most successful military commanders of all time. By age 30, he had reached the edge of the known world (modern India), to form an empire that stretched from today's Albania to eastern Pakistan, the largest empire of the ancient world.

Did Chopin Have Cystic Fibrosis?

Frederic Chopin was one of the greatest composers of solo piano music and a gifted pianist whose incredible techniques are still copied by concert pianists. He had a disease that made him sick from early childhood, and he died at the tragically young age of 39. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but instead, he probably suffered from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that was not even described until 1938.

Sam Shepard and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Sam Shepard was a prolific playwright, actor, screenwriter and director who acted in more than sixty films and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, and wrote more than 55 plays, often focusing on the serious problems that occur in American family life.

John Harvey Kellogg, Right and Wrong

John Harvey Kellogg was a medical doctor and director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, a hospital, spa and expensive hotel that helped to heal sick people primarily by getting them to eat a plant-based diet. To help people eat more plants, he and his brother, Will Keith Kellogg, invented "Corn Flakes" by putting whole grains though rollers and toasting them.

Fuller Albright and Parkinson’s Disease

Fuller Albright discovered more new diseases and their causes than any other person in the history of medicine. He founded modern endocrinology, the study of how glands work in your body. In his lifetime, he mentored most of the chairmen of the departments of endocrinology in North American medical schools. He was one of...

Robert Oppenheimer, Father of the Atomic Bomb

Seventy-five years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing between 129,000 and 226,000 mostly civilians, to remain today the only uses of nuclear weapons in war. Physicist Robert Oppenheimer was the scientific director of the Manhattan Project that created the atomic bomb.

Ted Williams, the Greatest Hitter

He was arguably the greatest baseball batter ever. He played 19 years for the Boston Red Sox and every one of those 19 years, he was an American League All-Star. In 1941, he had a batting average of 406, which remains the highest batting average in the major leagues since 1924 and at that time, it was 45 points higher than any other player in the league. He also led the league in runs scored, home runs, walks, getting on base and slugging percentage.

Michael E. DeBakey, Father of Modern Heart Surgery

“He was probably the greatest surgeon who ever lived” (The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2005). Michael DeBakey personally performed more than 60,000 surgical procedures. He developed the surgical procedures to bypass blocked arteries in the neck, legs and heart. These surgeries have been performed on millions of patients. He developed artificial pumps for...

President Harrison Didn’t Die from Not Wearing a Hat

William Henry Harrison was a U.S. military officer and politician who died of pneumonia 31 days into his term, to become the first president to die in office. He was 68 years and 23 days old, and at that time, the average life expectancy for a man was only 38 years.

Gordie Howe, the Toughest Athlete

National Hockey League All-Star Gordie Howe was arguably the best hockey player ever because he was stronger, faster and more pugnacious than everyone else. He played professional hockey for fifty years.

Bob Hayes, World’s Fastest Human

For many years the world’s fastest human was Bob Hayes, the only man to win Olympic gold medals and a Super Bowl ring, and hold world records in the 60-, 100-, and 220-yard dashes and the Olympic 100-meter dash at the same time.

Mary Tyler Moore and Type I Diabetes

Mary Tyler Moore was one of the most famous female television stars in North America, first as a wife and mother on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966) and then as a single working woman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977) where she became a role model admired by women all over the world.

Antonin Scalia: Bad Health Decisions

  In 1986, President Ronald Reagan appointed Antonin Scalia to the United States Supreme Court.  He was the first Italian-American justice and spent the next 30 years as perhaps the most conservative member of the court.     On the morning of February 13, 2016, the 79-year-old justice was found dead in his bed.  His doctor-prescribed breathing...

Major Taylor, First African-American World Champion

At the turn of the 20th century, cyclist Major Taylor became the first African-American sports hero. That was 10 years before Jackie Robinson was even born and 50 years before he broke the color barrier in major-league baseball.

Srinivasa Ramanujan, Math Prodigy

Perhaps the most amazing mathematician of all time was Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan (1887-1920). He worked out incredibly complicated problems and expanded our knowledge of elliptic functions, continued fractions and infinite series. During his 32 years of life, he wrote about nearly 4000 math problems and almost all of his solutions have proven to be...

Charlotte Rae and Pancreatic Cancer

Charlotte Rae was a stage, television and film actress and singer who, at age 52, became widely known and loved as Mrs. Edna Garrett in the TV shows "Diff’rent Strokes" and its spinoff "The Facts of Life" (1978-1987). As Mrs. Garrett, she was the cheerful, wise and strong housemother at a prestigious boarding school, where she always made the right decisions in dealing with issues facing teenager girls: dating, depression, weight control, alcohol and drugs. However, in real life, she was an alcoholic who suffered greatly from her affliction.

Ronald Reagan’s Medical History

Ronald Reagan was born into a very poor family, but he found success in everything he did. He was a member of his Eureka College football team and captain of the swim team.

Roger Bannister, First Sub-4-Minute Miler

Roger Bannister was the first human to run a mile in less than four minutes, even though his training was totally inadequate for world-class competition because he was a full time medical student who trained on a single 30-minute workout per day, compared to today's runners who train twice a day for as much as three hours.

Micheline Ostermeyer, Olympian and Concert Pianist

It takes so much work and time to train to become outstanding at any endeavor that there are very few people who have risen to the top of the world stage in more than one field. One of the most impressive people who ever lived was Micheline Ostermeyer of France. She was born in 1922 and died at age 78 in 2001, and was a concert pianist who won three Olympic medals in the 1948 Olympics.

Bruce Lee: Fists of Fury

Bruce Lee was the most influential martial artist of the 20th century. In the 1970's, his fame as a movie star and martial arts instructor sparked North American interest in Asian martial arts. At age 32, he died suddenly from massive swelling of his brain, most likely caused by a rare reaction to aspirin....

Jean Shepard and Parkinson’s Disease

On September 29, 2016, country music lost one of its all-time greats. Most of you have heard Jean Shepard singing "Dear John Letter" with Ferlin Husky, the first post-World War II record by a female country singer to become the number one country song and sell more than a million records.

Bobbie Battista and Cervical Cancer

Bobbie Battista was one of the original CNN cable news anchors, starting in 1981 and continuing to broadcast there for 20 years. She died at the very young age of 67 after a four-year battle with cervical cancer.

John von Neumann, Father of the Computer Revolution

John von Neumann was one of the most versatile and brilliant mathematicians of all time. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1955 and died a year later after it spread quickly to his bones and brain. He had helped to develop both atomic and hydrogen bombs and was exposed to radioactivity while observing A-bomb tests in the Pacific and while working on nuclear weapons at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Louisa Moritz: Death from “Natural Causes”

Louisa Moritz was a Cuban-American actress who played mostly dumb blonde roles in several films and TV situation comedies. She was best known for her role as Rose in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, with Jack Nicholson.

Lynn Anderson: Alcohol and Heart Attacks

Lynn Anderson was one of America's most popular country music singers in the 1960s and 70s, best known for her "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." She died from a heart attack at the very young age of 67, most likely caused by her excessive intake of alcohol. Alcohol can damage cells throughout your body.

Mamo Wolde, Olympian

In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, 36-year-old Mamo Wolde won the marathon and took second in the 10,000-meter run. He spent the last years of his life in prison for crimes that he probably did not commit. MY CONTACT WITH MAMO WOLDE AND ABEBE BIKILA: In 1963, Olympic champion Abebe Bekila and his virtually...

Milt Campbell, Olympic Decathlon Champion

Milt Campbell, one of the greatest and most versatile athletes who ever lived, died at age 78 of diabetes and prostate cancer. Research shows that prostate cancer will affect almost every North American male if he lives long enough, and risk is markedly increased in men who have diabetes.

Peter Huttenlocher, World-Famous Neurologist

The August 27, 2013 issue of the New York Times contains the obituary of Peter Huttenlocher, who died at age 82 of pneumonia, the result of Parkinson’s disease preventing him from clearing particles from his lungs. Huttenlocher was born in Germany on Feb. 23, 1931, to a chemist father and opera singer mother. They divorced...

Franz Kafka and Tuberculosis

Franz Kafka was one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, even though little of his work was published before his death at the young age of 40. He had tuberculosis in his esophagus, which prevented food from reaching his stomach, so he starved to death. He finished none of his...

Chuck Vinci: Heart Damage in a Pre-Steroid Olympic Weightlifter

Chuck Vinci won gold medals at the 1956 and 1960 Olympic games and the 1955 and 1959 Pan American Games, and set 12 world records in the bantamweight class of weightlifting. He was arguably one of the world's greatest weightlifters before steroids and growth hormones were massively abused, primarily by behind-the-iron-curtain athletes.