Abraham Lincoln Height Increase Disorder

So I decided that for this post, I am going to repost some stories, legends, and myths I find throughout the Internet or heard throughout life that talk about certain individuals who have grown to abnormally large height, whether intentionally or by accident. This will include many documented cases, medical or not, of people who have suffered through gigantism and/or acromegaly.

Maybe the most famous person who has ever suffered from some form of height increase disease was one of the greatest presidents in USA history, Abraham Lincoln. Through out his life, Lincoln went through some spectacular failures, professional and personal before he became the President of the United States. His ability to hold the Union and Confederacy together after the Civil War, and his Emancipation Proclamation in freeing the slaves remain some of the most important turning points in the history of the USA.

His unusual height of 6’4″ during a time when the average US adult male was 5’6″ makes some endocrinologists and clinical physicians question whether he might have suffered from some form growth disorder. Apparently when sitting down, Lincoln was no taller than the average man. All his height seemed to come from his legs. One resource I found claims he had size 14 shoes. He also had unusually long arms and fingers. However his hands seem to be strong and muscular. His body was lean.

All the height he had was reached by the time he reached age 17.

The most commonly cited disorder was probably

1. Marfan’s Syndrome

Form this Reference Link taken from Bucknell University, I cite the paragraph below.

“”Lincoln’s height, long legs, leanness, and thin face are skeletal features of Marfan syndrome, a genetically inherited disease. Evidence for other features of Marfan syndrome, such as ocular or cardiovascular anomalies, in Lincoln has been presented, but found weak. In 1959, Marfan syndrome was diagnosed in a distant relative of Lincoln’s (a third cousin four times removed). Sharing 1/4096th of Lincoln’s genetic material, it is difficult to make any conclusions based on this test. Looking at all the evidence, scientists cannot come to a definite conclusion whether Lincoln had the condition or not. “”

From the Wikipedia article found HERE about the Medical and Mental Health of Abraham Lincoln, the Marfan Syndrome Theory is discredited and questioned, along with the Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia theory.

Geneticists are now skeptical of the hypothesis that Marfan syndrome was the cause of his unusual habitus (see below).

Marfan syndrome. Based on Lincoln’s unusual physical appearance, Dr. Abraham Gordon proposed in 1962 that Lincoln had Marfan syndrome.[23] Lincoln’s unremarkable cardiovascular history and his normal visual acuity have been the chief objections to the theory, and today geneticists consider the diagnosis unlikely.[24] Testing Lincoln’s DNA for Marfan syndrome was contemplated in the 1990s, but such a test was not performed.

MEN2B. In 2007, Dr. John Sotos proposed that Lincoln had multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 2B (MEN2B).[25] This theory suggests Lincoln had all the major features of the disease: a marfan-like body shape, large, bumpy lips, constipation, hypotonia, a history compatible with cancer – to which Sotos ascribes the death of Lincoln’s sons EddieWillie, and Tad, and probably his mother. The “mole” on Lincoln’s right cheek, the asymmetry of his face, his large jaw, his drooping eyelid, and “pseudo-depression” are also suggested as manifestations of MEN2B. Lincoln’s longevity is the principal challenge to the MEN2B theory, which could be proven by DNA testing. [26]

Me: Overall, we may never know whether Lincoln’s unusual height was because of a rare disorder or not, but we can not question that his life was influential in shaping the US to what it is today.


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