Lincoln may have had facial defect

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Artists, sculptors and photographers knew
Abraham Lincoln's face had a good side. Now it's
confirmed by science.

Laser scans of two life masks, made from plaster casts
of Lincoln's face, reveal the 16th president's unusual
degree of facial asymmetry, according to a new study.

The left side of Lincoln's face was much smaller than
the right, an aberration called cranial facial
microsomia. The defect joins a long list of ailments ˜
including smallpox, heart illness and depression ˜
that modern doctors have diagnosed in Lincoln.

Lincoln's contemporaries noted his left eye at times
drifted upward independently of his right eye, a
condition now termed strabismus. Lincoln's smaller
left eye socket may have displaced a muscle
controlling vertical movement, said Dr. Ronald
Fishman, who led the study published in the August
issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Joseph Buberger - 8/19/2007

Here's a neat trick I learned from Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Cover one half of Lincoln's face, life mask or photograph, with a piece of paper. You will see that one side of Lincoln's face has a smile while the other side appears to have a frown.