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January 2, 1978

Nicolo Paganini: Musical Magician and Marfan Mutant?

JAMA. 1978;239(1):40-42. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280280040022

The thesis is advanced that Nicolo Paganini of Genoa (1782 to 1840), the greatest violin virtuoso of all time, owed his incomparable violin virtuosity to a fortuitous and fortunate coincidence of three factors: a soaring musical genius, a flair for the dramatic and ostentatious, and manual dexterity conferred by being born with the long fingers and hyperextensible joints of Marfan's syndrome. Ordinarily, an inborn connective tissue disorder is a calamity for the patient and a burden for society. In this particular instance, however, Marfan's syndrome bequeathed to posterity a legacy that will ennoble the human spirit for innumerable generations yet to come.

(JAMA 239:40-42, 1978)

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