Abraham Lincoln

Marfan Syndrome - Proposed diagnosis in 1964

16th president of the United States

- Born: 2/12/1809 - Died: 4/15/1865

- Marfan syndrome is an inherited disorder that affects connective tissue and the fibers that support and anchor your organs and other structures in your body.

  • Affects: heart, eyes, blood vessels and skeleton.

- People with Marfan syndrome are usually tall and thin with disproportionately long arms, legs, fingers and toes. The damage caused by Marfan syndrome can vary, ranging from mild to severe. If your heart or blood vessels are affected, the condition can become life-threatening.

- Marfan syndrome is caused by mutations in the FBN1 gene. The FBN1 gene provides instructions for making a protein called fibrillin-1. Fibrillin-1 bind to other fibrillin-1 proteins and other molecules to form thread-like filaments called microfibrils. Microfibrils become part of the fibers that provide strength and flexibility to connective tissue.

- "One of the more enduring theories about President Lincoln's health arose in the early 1960s. A physician published a paper in 1964 in the Journal of the American Medical Association which stated that President Abraham Lincoln had Marfan syndrome." Since then, other physicians have disputed a diagnosis of Marfan syndrome for Lincoln. The diagnosis was based on physical observations of Lincoln:

  • Much taller than most men of his day

  • Long limbs

  • Abnormally-shaped chest (sunken in)

  • Loose (lax) joints

- Treatment options normally include: Medications to keep your blood pressure low to reduce the strain on weakened blood vessels. Surgery may be necessary, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the part of your body that's affected.