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May 15, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXIV(20):1659-1660. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570460035017

There is an Italian proverb, "All diseases come in the dark and get cured in the sun." Interpreted from the standpoint of modern bacteriology and sanitary science, this statement has something to commend it, for light is today recognized as a potent defense against pathogenic micro-organisms by virtue of the destructive action which it exerts on them. Light, however, unquestionably has pathologic as well as physiologic effects on higher organisms. Under ordinary circumstances, we are exposed to sunlight of moderate or moderated intensity for limited periods. Exposure to intense sunlight, on the other hand, is by no means an innocuous procedure. Freckles are a familiar indication of a physiologic response to light, since they make their appearance on those parts of the body which are exposed to the sun's rays. Predisposed individuals react with more pronounced cutaneous symptoms under conditions in which sunlight is believed to play a rôle as

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