Wilson's disease

Wilson's disease is caused by mutations in a gene disrupting the ability of the liver to deal with copper, where instead it is released into the blood depositing throughout the body, particularly in the kidneys, eyes and brain leading to psychiatric symptoms in addition to liver disease.


Augustus Caesar is known to have suffered chronic ill health with symptoms of intestinal and immune system disorders suggestive of a syndrome affecting the liver and kidneys, possibly Wilson’s disease. There is some suggestion that he might have passed the gene for this disease on to two of his descendents, Nero and Caligula, who also showed mentally instability and epilepsy.