Test No. 2: Trace metals analysis. Dr. William Walsh, Naperville, Illinois

The second test was a trace metals analysis conducted by Dr. William Walsh at the HRI & Pfeiffer Research Center in Naperville, Illinois. This test will reveal the presence of any trace heavy metals. The following results of this test were announced by Dr. Walsh on Tuesday, October 17:

High lead concentrations in Beethoven's hair were found in independent analyses by McCrone Research Institute & Argonne National Laboratory. This is evidence that Beethoven had plumbism (lead poisoning) which may have caused his life-long illnesses, impacted his personality, and possibly contributed to his death.

Distinctive trace-metal patterns associated with genius, irritability, glucose disorders, and malabsorption were not present in the Beethoven samples tested by McCrone Research Institute.

Very low (undetectable) mercury levels were reported independently by McCrone Research Institute and Argonne National Laboratory. These results provide no evidence that Beethoven received medical treatment for syphilis, usually treated in the 1820's with mercury compounds. This supports the consensus of Beethoven scholars who believe that Beethoven never had syphilis. Rumors that Beethoven suffered from syphilis have been discounted in all serious musicological literature for the last thirty years.

For more information, see the text of Dr. Walsh's press conference and the press release from the HRI & Pfeiffer Research Center.