Unlocking the secrets of the Elephant Man

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tags: disabilities, Elephant Man, John Merrick, deformities




The Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, was an object of curiosity and ridicule throughout his life - studied, prodded and examined by the Victorian medical establishment. Now, 123 years after his death, scientists believe his bones contain secrets about his condition which could benefit medical science today.

Joseph Merrick began to develop abnormally from an early age, eventually being gawped at by Victorian circusgoers and examined by inquisitive doctors. The cause of his malformed head, curved spine, "lumpy" skin and overgrown right arm and hand has never been definitively explained.

Ironically, it is the medical preservation of Merrick's skeleton that is now causing the greatest problems in unlocking his body's secrets....




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