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With #ValentinesDay just around the corner, I thought I’d start doing a series of tweets about the history of venereal diseases. Aren’t you glad you follow me?! Let’s start with this sculpture entitled "Syphilis" by @paulkomoda, demonstrating the disease in its final stages.
@paulkomoda Before penicillin, syphilis was incurable. Victims often developed "saddle nose"—a deformity where the bridge of the nose caves into the face. It was so common, “No Nose Clubs” sprung up in the 19thC. More in #TheButcheringArt: [Photo: Wellcome Collection]
@paulkomoda For those wishing to avoid syphilis, CONDOMS were an option in earlier centuries. They were typically made of lamb or goat intestines, secured with silk ribbons, and lubricated with saliva. They were also REUSABLE. Some featured bawdy images, like this 18th-century example. 👇
@paulkomoda People who had lost their noses to the ravages of syphilis might undergo rhinoplasty in earlier periods to correct the deformity. This photo from 1943 demonstrates one method in which a new nose is grafted from the arm, which is bound until a blood supply is established.
@paulkomoda One famous person who suffered from syphilis was AL CAPONE, who was diagnosed while serving a life sentence at Alcatraz. Capone was released in 1939 on medical grounds. I visited his grave on my YouTube Channel UNDER THE KNIFE. Video 👉
@paulkomoda Syphilis didn't just leave its mark on soft tissues - such as the nose. The severe pitting in this skull is the direct result of the infection. Also note the erosion of the nasal bone. This skull is now housed at @medicalmuseum.
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