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Life Under the Sun$
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Peter A. Ensminger

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088045

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088045.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

The Purple Disease

The Purple Disease

(p.69) 6 The Purple Disease
Life Under the Sun

Pete A. Ensminger

Yale University Press

The metabolic disease, porphyria, makes humans sensitive to light and leads to the abnormal accumulation of porphyrins. Its symptoms may differ but they are always accompanied by neuropsychiatric disorders, especially skin photosensitization. The mechanism of photosensitization and photodynamic therapy are presented here. The chapter also discusses bloodletting and other treatments to cure porphyria, such as acute porphyria, porphyria cutanea tarda, protoporphyria, and erythropoietic porphyria. The hypothesis of variegate porphyria in King George III and its scientific controversy is also described in detail as propounded by various research studies supported by historical documents: the Queen's Council Papers from the Lambeth Palace Library; Sir Henry Halford's records of the King's illness from the Royal Archives at Windsor; and the diary of Sir George Baker, president of the Royal College of Physicians and physician to George III.

Keywords:   porphyria, bloodletting, porphyria cutanea tarda, protoporphyria, Erythropoietic porphyria, Royal Archives

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