Tuesday, December 07, 2004

For Tintin, it's a hardknock life

A Canadian researcher thinks he's discovered the secret to Tintin's seemingly eternal youth: a growth-hormone deficiency and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, likely brought on by repeated blows to the head.

The Globe & Mail reports on the lighthearted research, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal's annual holiday edition, which has a tradition of diagnosing fictional characters with real-life ailments:
In the course of Tintin's 23 published adventures, the character lost consciousness at least 50 times, including 43 incidents in which he suffered a severe blow to the head.

Between 1929 and 1973, the boy reporter was hit with a rake, a brick, a whisky bottle, an oar, a giant apple, a camel femur, a block of ice, and countless punches and clubs.

Tintin was choked, thrown down stairs, tossed from a train, poisoned with chloroform, mauled by a lion, shot and hurled a great distance by an explosion, events that may have also caused neurological damage.

The unlikely result was that in 46 years of active publication, and for decades since, he has not aged a wit.
Dr. Claude Cyr, who conducted the research with his two sons, five-year-old Antoine and seven-year-old Louis-Olivier, also noted Tintin suffered from "delayed statural growth" and an apparent lack of libido.