DNA Tests Could Show If Lincoln Was Terminally Ill

A DNA test could show whether President Abraham Lincoln was already dying of a rare genetic disease before his assassination – but a museum has denied the initial request to study the blood-stained threads from a pillow that cradled the head of the mortally wounded president.

Dr. John Sotos suspects that Lincoln suffered from a condition that caused excessive nerve cell and bone growth, and may also have developed cancer late in life. Sotos went to the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library, which turned him down for fear of damage to the pillow relic. However, the museum did not rule out future tests, and plans to convene experts to discuss the idea.

Biologist and blogger Sheril Kirshenbaum raised the question of whether Lincoln's knowledge of his failing health influenced his reconciliatory attitude toward the South during the Civil War's ending days. LiveScience previously looked at the medical conditions that affected sitting U.S. presidents, and found many examples throughout history. And guess what – presidential candidates still don't have to disclose such conditions.

[See the full story at The Intersection]

Live Science Staff
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