S. Giménez-Roldán Neurosciences and History 2018; 6(2): 38-52
Type of article: ORIGINAL
S. Giménez-Roldán Former head of Neurology, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain.
Introduction. Exhibited in the Spanish National Museum of Anthropology (MNA, for its Spanish initials) in Madrid are the skeleton and a plaster cast of the cadaver of Agustín Luengo Capilla (1849-1875), known as the Gigante Extremeño (“the Giant of Extremadura”), whose study may provide data of social and epidemiological interest.
Aims. To investigate Luengo’ s life and to reflect on diseases he may have presented in life, based on the MNA exhibition.
Results. Luengo travelled to Madrid in 1875, apparently to be treated by the renowned surgeon and anatomist Pedro González Velasco (1815-1882). He was granted an audience with King Alfonso XII (1857-1885), who in all likelihood presented him with a pair of custom-made boots, which he never had the opportunity to wear. Unlike other cases of gigantism, Luengo’ s cadaver was voluntarily donated to González Velasco by his mother. Inspection of the skeleton and plaster cast reveal underdeveloped genitalia, hypertrophic osteoarthropathy, and exterior drainage of an abscess of probable bone origin.
Discussion. In addition to the cast of his body, the skeleton of the Giant of Extremadura is currently (2018) the only specimen in the world that is freely accessible to the general public. Study of his DNA and comparison to the skeletons of two giants kept at the anatomical museum of the Madrid Faculty of Medicine may assist in detecting carriers of genes associated with acromegaly, gigantism, and prolactinomas in the region of Luengo’ s birth.
Agustín Luengo Capilla, Giant of Extremadura, acromegalic gigantism, Museo Nacional de Antropología
Neurosciences and History 2018; 6(2): 38-52
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