Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: a fairytale for endocrinologists

in Endocrine Connections
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  • 1 A Zervas, Endocrine Unit, Athens Medical Centre, Athens, Greece
  • 2 G Chrousos, 2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, First Department of Pediatrics, University Research Institute of Maternal and Child Health and Precision Medicine, and UNESCO Chair on Adolescent Health Care, Medical School of University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • 3 S Livadas, Endocrine Unit, Athens Medical Centre, Athens, 10563, Greece

Correspondence: Sarantis Livadas, Email:

'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', a fairytale that is widely known across the Western world, was originally written by the Brothers Grimm, and published in 1812. Though each dwarf was first given an individual name in the 1912 Broadway play by the same title, in Walt Disney's 1937 film 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', they were renamed, and their names have become household words. As it is well known, myths, fables, and fairytales, though appearing to be merely children’s tales about made-up and magical beings and places, have, more often than not, originated from real facts. Therefore, the presence in the story of seven brothers with short stature is, from an endocrinological point of view, highly intriguing, in fact, thrilling. The diversity of the phenotypes among the seven dwarfs is also stimulating , although puzzling. We undertook a differential diagnosis of their common underlying disorder based on the original Disney production drawings and the unique characteristics of these little gentlemen, while we additionally evaluated several causes of short stature and, focusing on endocrine disorders that could lead to these clinical features among siblings, and we have, we believe, been able to reveal the underlying disease depicted in this archetypal tale.


     European Society of Endocrinology

     Society for Endocrinology

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