New Study of the Titanic Sinking Finds a Medical Cause

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The real reason for the disaster was Captain Smith's Alzheimer's Disease, as made public in research sponsored by The Index Project, a non-profit 501-C-3 history research organization. (

A century of Titanic writers got it wrong. The crucial story was not the shortage of lifeboats, or what the band played, or what the rich and famous did, or the screams of the drowning, or the dramatic rescue at dawn. The real story is: why did the captain make such stupendous, colossal errors in nautical judgment?

Medical researcher and historian Thomas P. Lowry has just published a book with compelling evidence that Captain Edward J. Smith had undiagnosed Alzheimer's Disease. The author, a 1957 graduate of Stanford University Medical School, author of a dozen books, and former trans-Pacific merchant seaman, studied not only the survivors of the disaster, but also the long history of other manmade maritime disasters.

The captain was the most honored and respected skipper on the Atlantic Ocean, yet he approved a route that took his ship through an area with over 180 previous well-documented iceberg collisions. At the height of the iceberg season. In spite of a dozen radio warnings of ice ahead. On a moonless night. At top speed.

The testimony of a dozen survivors, detailing every minute of that fateful day and night, showed the captain to have been inattentive, ineffective, distracted, careless, negligent, and utterly failing to exercise command and control.

The author, with half a century of medical, psychiatric, and neurological experience, reviews the many possible dementias and concludes that Alzheimer's Disease best fits the circumstances and is the key to understanding the tragedy. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's hero, Sherlock Holmes, used deductive reasoning to solve a case. Without the captain's actual body, the path to solving this case is -- again -- deduction, the assembling of clues to form a substantial conclusion.

The new book, Titanic Madness, was released in October 2012, and is now on in both print and Kindle.

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