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January 12, 2000

Did Andrew Jackson Have Mercury Poisoning?

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorMargaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor


Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

JAMA. 2000;283(2):200-201. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-283-2-jbk0112

To the Editor: Contrary to the report by Dr Deppisch and colleagues,1 Andrew Jackson might well have had mercury poisoning. Jackson's physicians, like others of their time, prescribed calomel (mercurous chloride) for a broad range of ailments. Jackson's kidney problems, tooth loss, excessive salivation, tremor, and personality quirks such as unpredictable mood shifts, irritability, and suspicion are recognized outcomes of inorganic mercury poisoning.2

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