Tintin’s health traumas, analyzed

Here’s a new medical analysis of the health of a comics character, following in the tradition of the 2004 study “Acquired Growth Hormone Deficiency and Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism in a Subject With Repeated Head Trauma, or Tintin Goes to the Neurologist“:

Tintin’s travel traumas: Health issues affecting the intrepid globetrotter” Les problèmes de santé de Tintin : plus de traumatismes que de pathologies du voyageur], Eric Caumes [pictured below], Loïc Epelboin, France Leturcq, Phyllis Kozarsky, Peter Clarke, La Presse Médicale, epub May 11, 2015. The authors, at institutions in France, the USA and the UK, report:


Despite the highly hazardous life-style led by comic book characters such as Tintin, we are unaware of any previous systematic description of the challenges and health impairments faced by Tintin in the course of his adventures.

Methods —We evaluated the spectrum of health impairments (HIs) that Tintin sustained in his 23 adventures as well as their causes, consequences, and relation to travel. We diagnosed Tintin’s HIs according to descriptive terms in the text. We then classified HIs as traumatic and non-traumatic, and distinguished between intentional (those perpetrated by others) and unintentional events.


caumesResults — We found 236 events leading to 244 HIs, 13 kidnappings, six hospitalisations and two surgical procedures. There was a median of 8 HIs/adventure (range 1–30/adventure). The mean number of HIs per adventure was much greater before 1945 than subsequently (14.9 vs. 6.1; P = 0.002), which was also true of the number of kidnappings (11 vs. 2; P = 0.001). Of the 244 HIs, there were 191 cases of trauma (78.3%) and 53 non-traumatic problems (21.7%). The most common form of trauma was concussion (62%) whereas the most common forms of non-traumatic problems were sleep problems (15.1%), depression/anxiety (13%), and gas or chloroform poisoning (13%). Overall, we found 46 losses of consciousness (LoC), including 29 traumatic and 17 non-traumatic LoCs.

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