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The dementia of King Ferdinand VI and the year with no king
INTRODUCTION. Ferdinand VI was king of Spain from 1746 until 1759. His last year of reign is known as the year without a king. Over this year the king suffered a rapidly progressive deterioration of his mental health status. The clinical condition has been always attributed to a pure psychiatric disorder, generally a bipolar disorder. DEVELOPMENT. We review the sources of information in the Spanish archives and libraries, in order to find clinical information about the illness suffered by the king. We made a clinical evaluation and discussion about the disease of the king according to the information that has been obtained and the different diseases that could have caused the illness.
CONCLUSIONS. Last year clinical deterioration of Ferdinand VI started with the death of his lovely wife. At first, the symptoms were similar to the symptoms of a mayor depressive disorder. Although the king had a rapidly progressive deterioration with severe changes in behavior and conduct, long stay in bed, loss of sphincters control and seizures. During the last months of his life, the king fell into a state of prostration with a marked cognitive impairment. Although it is possible that Ferdinand VI could have had a previous psychiatric disorder, there is enough information to think about a rapidly progressive dementia as the main cause of his clinical worsening and dead.
Andrés PiquerBipolar disorderDementiaFerdinand VIHistory of medicineHistory of neurologyDemenciaNeuropsiquiatría