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Al Capone: Crime Does Not Pay

The king of Chicago prostitution lost both his mind and his life to diseases caused by a lifetime of promiscuous sex. He was probably America's most famous killer, gangster, bootlegger, criminal and racketeer, but the United States government could convict him only for tax evasion and he was sentenced to only 11 years in prison.

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...

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.

Typhoid Mary’s Gall Bladder

Do you know why a healthy person who makes other people sick may be called a "Typhoid Mary"? There really was a Typhoid Mary. She was an apparently healthy person who caused more than ten documented epidemics of typhoid fever, at least three documented deaths, and probably many more cases that could not be confirmed.

Can Hair Turn Grey Overnight?

Marie Antoinette and Sir Thomas More were both reported to have had their hair turn gray on the nights before their executions. However, hair is dead skin, so it can’t possibly change color. Grey hair means that you have a mixture of white and pigmented hairs. The only way that hair could change color overnight would be to have most of your darker hairs fall out suddenly, leaving only the white hairs.

How Did Stalin Die?

On March 1, 1953, after an all-night dinner with heavy drinking among four of the highest Russian government officials, the 73 year-old Joseph Stalin collapsed at his house. Later he was found unconscious on the floor, yet no doctors were summoned until the next morning.

John Urschel Quits Football

John Urschel, arguably the smartest player in the National Football League (NFL), just retired from football at age 26 to avoid concussions that can cause brain damage, known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. He will finish his course work for a Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT, one of the most prestigious institutions in the world.

Kathleen Baker, Amazing Olympian with Crohn’s Disease

Kathleen Baker made the 2016 United States Olympic Swimming Team by finishing second in the women’s 100-meter backstroke at the United States trials. To be able to be in the Olympics, she had to have incredible drive and the ability to suffer pain from intense training day after day from early childhood. But there is far more than just the pain of training for this 19-year-old UC/Berkeley student.

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...

Van Cliburn, Cold War Hero

In 1958, at the height of the "Cold War", the Soviet Union gained an incredible coup by successfully launching Sputnik 1, the first orbiting satellite. At that time, almost all of the world’s premier pianists came from the Soviet Union, so they sponsored the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow to...

Tyler Amburgey, Hockey and COVID-19

Tyler Amburgey was good enough to play on the United States National Hockey under-age-18 teams from 2007 to 2009, and then was a very talented player for the next eight years for six minor league hockey teams.

Linus Pauling and Prostate Cancer

Linus Pauling died at age 93 of prostate cancer, a disease that affects nearly 100 percent of North American men over age 90. He was one of the most influential chemists of all time, and also a peace activist, author, and educator. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 for his campaign against nuclear weapons testing.

Tchaikovsky’s Death: Cholera, Suicide or Murder?

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the first Russian composer to become known throughout the world. He conducted major classical orchestras in Europe and the United States, and was elevated from commoner to nobility by Czar Alexander III. How He Became One of the Greatest Composers He was born in 1840 to a successful engineer father and a...

Hal Connolly, from Disabled Child to Olympic Gold

Harold Connolly was born with only one functioning arm. Because of that he had to fight to be accepted, so he worked harder than everyone else. He became such a fierce competitor in the hammer throw that he won a gold medal in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. He was the first...

Freud and Dreams

For 50 years, Freud was one of the most revered scientists on earth. Then researchers discovered neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass messages from one nerve to another. They found that people who hallucinate and are not able to think clearly are schizophrenic because their brains make too much dopamine or glutamate, and that people are depressed because their brains make too little norepinephrine and serotonin;

Rosalind Franklin, Cheated Out of a Nobel Prize

Rosalind Franklin should have won the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA. She died at the very young age of 37 of ovarian cancer in 1958, probably from exposure to the radiation that helped her make this incredible discovery. In 1962, Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins jointly won...

Paul English: Why Pneumonia is Such a Common Cause of Death in Seniors

Paul English was Willie Nelson's drummer and best friend for nearly sixty years. In 2014, English told a Rolling Stone writer that Willie Nelson had saved his life, saying, "If I hadn’t gone with Willie, I would be in the penitentiary or dead."

C.W. Post, Entrepreneur and Huckster

C.W. Post was a brilliant huckster who invented Grape Nuts and Postum. He founded Post Cereals, which eventually became General Foods, one of the largest processed food  companies in the world.

Did Roy Orbison Work Himself to Death?

Roy Orbison was one of America’s top singers and songwriters from 1957 to 1988. He sang his emotional ballads while standing still and wearing black clothes and dark-framed tinted glasses. Between 1960 and 1964, 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40. Elvis Presley said that his voice was the greatest and...

Zachary Taylor’s Salmonella

Zachary Taylor became the 12th president of the United States after being a national hero as the major general who led the United States to victory in the Mexican–American War in 1848.. He ran on the platform to preserve the union in its battles over slavery. He died after only sixteen months in office.

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.

Jerry Lewis: Lifelong Comedy and Pain

Jerry Lewis, the fabulously successful comedian, actor and director who starred in movies, television, nightclubs and Broadway stage, died at age 91 at his home in Las Vegas. His manager said that he "passed peacefully at home of natural causes with his loving family at his side." Throughout his life he had suffered several serious medical conditions that were treated with medications and procedures that had many side effects.

Jerry Quarry: Dementia from Head Injuries

Jerry Quarry was one of the toughest fighters who ever lived. He was never world champion, but: • He fought main bouts from 1965 through 1975, a time when there were arguably more good heavyweights than at any other time period. • He was never knocked out in his 66 fights even though, at only...

Browning Ross, Distance Running’s Founding Father

Browning Ross was truly the father of road racing in America. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field teams in 1948 and 1952, and Pan American Games 1500 meter (metric mile) champion in 1951. He won many hundreds of long distance races through the streets of North American cities.

Stella Walsh, Olympic Female Sprint Champion

Stella Walasiewicz, later known as Stella Walsh, won the women’s 100-meter dash at the 1932 Olympics for Poland. Four years later, at the 1936 Berlin Olympics she took silver, beaten by the American, Helen Stephens. Stephens also set new world records for the 200m and the standing broad jump, and won the shot put. Stella...

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.

George Gershwin, Incorrectly Diagnosed with Depression

George Gershwin was arguably America’s greatest composer of Broadway musicals and movie film scores, and was always the bon vivant of every party he attended. He wrote the enormously successful “Swanee” at age nineteen. He was a playboy who rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, and was also a natural athlete and a...

Why Sylvester Graham Rejected White Flour

Almost two hundred years ago, Reverend Sylvester Graham was treated by the scientific community as a nut because he claimed that white flour was a poison. Today we know that even though he had no knowledge of nutrition, he was really a prophet.

Dr. Robert Atkins, King of Low-Carb Diets

Robert Atkins was a cardiologist who wrote The Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution books, promoting his weight-loss program that severely restricts carbohydrates and recommends fats and protein as the primary sources of calories.

Was Hans Asperger a Nazi?

A recently-published medical journal article claims that Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician after whom Asperger’s syndrome is named, was involved in the Nazi euthanasia program to sterilize or kill retarded, emotionally-disturbed and sick children in the 1930's and 40s (Molecular Autism, April 19, 2018). If this is true, he certainly should not continue to have the honor of having the medical syndrome named after him.