FLORENCE, ITALY – The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci had thyroid problems that account for her yellow skin, thinning hair and a possible goitre on her neck, two US researchers say.
In a paper published in the September 2018 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Brigham and Women’s Hospital researcher Mandeep Mehra and University of California, Santa Barbara’s Hilary Campbell said that clinical hypothyroidism is a more likely diagnosis than previous hypotheses including a lipid disorder and heart disease.
Dr. Mehra cited the Mona Lisa’s thinning hair, yellow skin, and possible goitre as visual evidence of hypothyroidism.
The diet of Italians during the Renaissance was lacking in iodine, and resulting goiters were commonly depicted in paintings and sculptures of the era.
Lisa Gherardini, the real person behind the Mona Lisa smile, gave birth shortly before sitting for the portrait, which indicates the possibility of peripartum thyroiditis.
The Mona Lisa’s appearance has spurred a cottage industry of medical suggestions over the years.