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August 6, 2008

Chopin`s Heart Will Not Be Removed For Testing

Scientist want to test legendary composer Fredric Chopin’s heart to see if he died from cystic fibrous and not tuberculosis. The Polish government does not think that DNA testing to determine the actual cause of death is a good enough reason to disturb the heart. The heart is preserved in an alcohol and has been kept in the Warsaw Holy Cross Church since the composer died. It was only removed during World War II but was returned in 1951.

Chopin’s body is buried in France but he wanted his heart to be returned to Poland where he was born. The government of Poland was not impressed with the reason why the scientist wanted to tamper wit the heart. While they might be able to prove that Chopin died of cystic fibrous, there was no chance of them learning anything new that would help with the disease. This seemed to be a project just to satisfy the curiosity of the scientists that were conducting the examination.

One geneticist Michal Witt admitted that DNA testing may not be able to lead scientist to find out what Chopin actually died of. First of all there is really no way to know what condition the heart is in after being preserved in alcohol for all of this time. Also, the heart is like a relic in Poland and disturbing it would be kind of a shame. There is this heart of a brilliant composer sitting in a church in his homeland where it has been for quite a long time. Why disturb it for something like this? What would the DNA testing really mean for science or for the legacy of Chopin?

In 1810 Chopin was born in Zelazowa, Poland. He was a sickly child and had a bad lung infection. As he got older he was barely able to speak during concerts. He even taught piano while he was lying down at some point in life. Chopin was a musical genius.

The thought that he may have had cystic fibrous comes a collection of symptoms he complained about. Such as not being able to grow facial hair on one side of his face. Also Chopin had several sexual relationships with women but did not have any children. Puberty was also delayed for the composer.

On Chopin’s death certificate tuberculosis was listed but the doctor that treated him said that he had a disease that had not been encountered before. The scientists that wanted to test the heart say they wanted to show how unstoppable genius can be. If someone stricken with cystic fibrous could become a great composer, hope could be given to others that have the same condition or something like it.

I understand the quest of the scientist but really, we don’t need Chopin’s heart to be dissected to prove that. We should already have faith the genius and talent can overcome any disability or ailment. Let Poland maintain the relic status of Chopin’s heart. There is no need to disturb it.

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