Mona Lisa's smile caused by high cholesterol

275x250.jpgAn Italian doctor claims that he has been able to diagnose the illnesses suffered by some of the people in the world's most famous paintings.

Dr Vito Franco of the University of Palermo says the intriguing smile of the Mona Lisa was the result of very high levels of cholesterol.

He came to this conclusion by studying the details of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, where he says he can see a build up of fatty acids around her left eye.

But he has not stopped there, he has analysed a host of renaissance works -- finding that most subjects suffered from one disease or another.

It sounds to us like someone has been watching too many episodes of House. 
275x250.jpgDr Vito Franco believes the five-year-old Infanta Margarita depicted in Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas is a victim of Albright syndrome - a genetic illness which causes bone disease and hormonal problems resulting in low stature.

Moving on to Botticelli's Portrait of a Youth the doctor thinks the boy features suffers from arachnodactyly - a genetic disorder that affects connective tissues - because of his delicate elongated fingers.

275x250.jpgAnother Marfan syndrome sufferer is said to be visible in Parmigianino’s long-necked Madonna, who is characteristically tall and thin with disproportionately long limbs.

Finally, the Madonna del Parto by Piero della Francesca, apparently had an iodine deficiency which can be seen by the swelling of the thyroid gland.

University of Palermo  
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