Cesare Taruffi and acromegaly: the story of a discovery never made
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The “Luigi Cattaneo” Wax Museum houses the skull and wax bust of Luigi Marchetti, a man with acromegaly who died in 1808 at the age of 47 years. His case aroused the interest of many famous anatomists and nineteenth century clinicians including Rudolf Virchow. Cesare Taruffi’s study of this case and the exemplary and symbolic comparison between the exact wax replica and the human skull show how traumatic and complex this anatomical-pathological paradigm must have been for nineteenth century medical science. It also marks the historical continuity between endocrinological research in the old Bologna Anatomy School from Mondino Dei Liuzzi to Marcello Malpighi and Giovan Battista Morgagni and present-day expertise in pituitary neurosurgery at Bologna University and the city’s “Carlo Alberto Pizzardi” Bellaria Hospital.