LONDON (Reuters) - Karl Marx, who complained of excruciating boils, actually suffered from a chronic skin disease with known psychological effects that may well have influenced his writings, a British expert said on Tuesday.

Sam Shuster, professor of dermatology at the University of East Anglia, believes the revolutionary thinker had hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in which the apocrine sweat glands -- found mainly in the armpits and groin -- become blocked and inflamed.

"In addition to reducing his ability to work, which contributed to his depressing poverty, hidradenitis greatly reduced his self-esteem," said Shuster, who published his findings in the British Journal of Dermatology.

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Marx, who died in 1883, was one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century and his radical writings formed the basis of modern communism.
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