The head that wears the crown: Henry VIII and traumatic brain injury

Muhammad Qaiser Ikram, Fazle Hakim Sajjad, Arash Salardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Henry VIII of England is one of the most controversial figures in European history. He was born on 28 June 1491 as the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York and became the heir to the English throne after his elder brother died prematurely. A contradictory picture of Henry's character emerges from history: the young Henry was a vigorous, generous and intelligent king who saw early military and naval successes. In contrast, in his later years he became cruel, petty and tyrannical. His political paranoia and military misjudgements are in direct contrast to his earlier successes and promise. Several hypotheses have been put forward regarding his transformation from a renaissance king to a later medieval tyrant, including endocrinopathies, psychiatric illnesses and traumatic brain injury. In this paper we examine the historical evidence linking the change in Henry's personality and health problems to traumatic brain injury. To our knowledge this is the first systematic neurological study of traumatic brain injury in Henry VIII.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-19
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Henry VIII
  • History
  • Sport concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Surgery


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