John Sotos is a physician well known in medical circles for his book, ZEBRA CARDS: AN AID TO OBSCURE DIAGNOSIS. We tell our medical students, "When you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras," or, common things occur commonly. But John has had a lifelong interest in rare diseases--zebras. (He is also a medical consultant for the TV show HOUSE.)
from January 1864
The Grand Army of the Republic museum in Philadelphia has a pillowcase with Lincoln's blood on it, and DNA from that could conceivably prove or disprove this hypothesis. (It could also prove or disprove another hypothesis that states Lincoln had another condition, namely Marfan's syndrome.) For now, the museum has decided to wait on DNA testing.
There have been hundreds of books about Lincoln. In fact, the Library of Congress catalog suggests that a new book about Lincoln comes out every 5 days or so. If indeed Lincoln had a disease whose manifestations had much to do with his behavior, and which might explain the early deaths of his mother and of his son--seminal events in any life--then in a sense, all previous biographies are inaccurate.
But is this a slippery slope? Are historians to become forensic anthropologists?
Would Abe have wanted the DNA testing done?
One day there might be a test that could tell us what he would have decided.