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October 2021

[Autopsy report of the corpse of the composer Robert Schumann- - publication and interpretation of a rediscovered document]

Author(s): Nauhaus, G.

Journal/Book: Zentralbl Allg Pathol. 1986; 132: 129-36.

Abstract: The report, previously regarded as lost, of the post mortem examination performed on Robert Schumann was found in 1973 by G. Nauhaus in the Archive of the "Robert Schumann House" in Zwickau. The original version is published here for the first time. Dr. med. Richarz, director of the private psychiatric institution in which Schumann had been hospitalized, conducted the autopsy together with his assistant Dr. med. Peters. Fragments of the autopsy findings, published by Richarz are known through his letters, provided, until now, the only available facts. The prosector's diagnosis of brain atrophy is not supported by the brain weight of 1,336 g, which is near the average brain weight for men of the corresponding age, nor by the volume of the cranium. 1,510 cm3, as reported by Schaaffhausen. The indentations and protuberances of the cranial bones in the region of the middle cranial fossa were regarded as reflecting prominent indentations of the gyri and were attributed no pathological significance. A small osteophyte in the region was not regarded as clinically important. The thickenings and scattered adhesions of the arachnoid membrane described in the report, cannot be pathologically interpreted. Moreover such findings are so uncharacteristic as to provide no compelling evidence for a resolved or on-going chronic inflammatory process. The available information permits no further interpretation of a mass in the hypophyseal region, described as gelatinous and partly of cartilagenous consistency. The cardiac findings do not suggest hypertension. The condition of the kidneys is not mentioned. The rediscovered document contains no information which persuasively supports any of the hypotheses about Robert Schumann's underlying illness which have appeared in the literature.

Keyword(s): Famous Persons|. Music|HI

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