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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

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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