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Contempo Updates
April 26, 2000

Antarctic Medicine

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Polar Medicine, Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia.


Contempo Updates Section Editors: Thomas C. Jefferson, MD, Contributing Editor; Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;283(16):2082-2084. doi:10.1001/jama.283.16.2082

During the early part of the long polar night Lieutenant Danco died. Except for the depression of this melancholy bereavement, the health of the members of the expedition was fairly good; but the 70 days of continued darkness weighed heavily upon us. —Frederick A. Cook, MD, 19001

With its long winters of unremitting darkness, cold, and isolation, Antarctica is perhaps the harshest sustained human environment on earth. It would have astonished Dr Cook, who accompanied the first winter expedition to Antarctica in 1898, to know that 100 years later 18 nations would be operating 37 winter stations in the Antarctic, south of the 60th parallel,2 and that more than 10,000 tourists and adventure seekers would visit Antarctica in the austral summer.

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