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Heavy metals in Beethoven’s hair may explain his deafness, study finds

High levels of heavy metals detected in Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair reveal that he may have had lead poisoning, possibly contributing to his deafness and other illnesses, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed DNA in two authenticated locks of the German composer’s hair and discovered that they contained alarmingly high concentrations of lead, as well as high levels of arsenic and mercury, according to a study published May 6 in the journal Clinical Chemistry.

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