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Hum Pathol. 2013 Oct;44(10):1967-72. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2012.11.017. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Vessels of Stone: Lenin's "circulatory disturbance of the brain".

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Departments of Neurology, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Neuropathology), the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles California 90095, USA.


Many have wondered what might have become of the totalitarian state Lenin founded on merciless terror, had he not died so young. He was 52 and at the height of his power when he had his first stroke. Six months later he had another and then a third stroke three months after that. He died 3 months shy of his 54th birthday with cerebral arteries so calcified that when tapped with tweezers at the time of his autopsy, they sounded like stone. The reason for his premature atherosclerosis has yet to be explained. He had a family history of cardiovascular disease and, therefore, is suspected of having had an inherited lipid disorder. Stress too might have had a role in the progression of his atherosclerosis. However, neither would explain the extent of the calcification of his cerebral arteries identified at post mortem examination. A recently described variant of the NT5E mutation might explain such calcification, as well as Lenin's family history of cardiovascular disease, and his premature cerebrovascular attacks.


Cerebrovascular disease; Lenin; Stress; Stroke

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