Saturday, July 19, 2008
What made Pio Pico so, well, ugly?
California's last Mexican governor had grotesque features that a neurologist thinks were caused by a metabolic disorder known as acromegaly.
It's a good thing Pio Pico served as California's governor long before the age of television -- his broad forehead, bulbous nose and protruding jaw prompted the author Gertrude Atherton to observe in 1902 that "an uglier man than Pio Pico rarely had entered this world."
Now a neurologist believes he knows why Pico was so hard on the eyes: He probably suffered from acromegaly, a metabolic disorder that causes cartilage and soft tissues in the face and extremities to grow grotesquely large.
Dr. Ivan S. Login, a professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, began speculating about Pico's condition six years ago after receiving a postcard from his daughter, who was vacationing in San Diego.The 1852 daguerreotype shows Pico, the last Mexican governor of California, in a three-piece suit and bow tie. But the dapper clothes don't mask his exaggerated features."When you see one person who's got that, you recognize it forever," Login said. "As soon as I saw that postcard, I knew exactly what was wrong with that man."Login suspected the cause was a benign tumor of the pituitary gland in the brain, which causes the excess production of growth hormone. He and his daughter consulted more than a dozen historians and searched for more images of Pico, who served two terms as governor in the 1830s and 1840s.After examining an oil painting from 1847 and a photograph taken in 1858, the neurologist found other telltale signs of acromegaly. Pico's left eyeball was out of sync with his right, probably because the tumor compressed the nerves controlling eyeball movement. He had also lost the ends of his eyebrows, a sign that the tumor prevented Pico's pituitary gland from producing normal amounts of testosterone.That lack of testosterone may have also made him impotent, according to Login's report published this month in the journal Pituitary. Though large families were common at the time, Pico and his wife, Maria, apparently had no biological children.In photos taken when Pico was in his 80s, the ex-governor's fingers were slender and his face appeared normal. A bushy beard suggested his pituitary gland had regained normal function.Login said he suspects the tumor died on its own after becoming too big for its blood supply sometime after Pico turned 57, allowing him to father children with other women after his wife died.
Today, the debt that Americans have with China of just over a few trillion is a drop in the bucket. The idea of getting the house in order again is not far fetch. You get house party going. You outsource a war or 17 around the world and you wag the dog a whole lot.
What is the price to build the canal through Nicaragua? And the competion will build another through Columboville. China gets the rights to the McPanama Canal and all is fair in High Times.And our chillum's chillum get a more prosperous new world in the New Caribbean Republic. In the year 2025... if man is still alive. There are some big smiles out there. If you want to be rich, have plenty of children.
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