28th February…

Art historians have long debated the mystery behind Mona Lisa’s smile—or if, in fact, she’s smiling at all—but the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s 1503 painting didn’t get her first medical diagnosis until 1987. According to a February 28 article in Physician’s Weekly, Mona Lisa’s smile is actually a symptom of Bell’s palsy, a common nerve disorder caused by a weakening of the muscles on one side of the face. The condition would explain why Mona Lisa’s left eye is narrower, and the left corner of her mouth higher, than the same features on the right. Dr. Kedar K. Adour, a leading ear, nose, and throat specialist quoted in the article, diagnosed the source as a swollen nerve behind the left ear.

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