Did Adrenal Tumors Fuel the Hatfield-McCoy Feud?

A rare disease has been found in West Virginia McCoy descendants.

Posted May 29, 2012

The infamous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families may have had a genetic component. 

A number of West Virginia McCoy descendants have a rare inherited disease which can cause intense, immediate rage and violent outbursts. The name for this history-alterting medical condition?  von Hippel-Lindau disease.  

About 20 percent of people with von Hippel-Lindau disease develop adrenal gland tumors, specifically tumors called pheochromocytoma. Adrenal gland tumors such as pheochromocytoma can cause an increase in adrenaline production - the chemical that is responsible for the body's "fight or flight" response. 

So was the McCoy's feud with the Hatfields due, in part, to adrenaline gone awry? It's possible, but we may never really know for sure.

Read more in Vanderbilt Magazine's "Tumors May Have Fueled Hatfield-McCoy Feud"


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