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January 1990

Hereditary Photosensitivity of the American Indian

Author Affiliations

Section of Dermatology Department of Internal Medicine University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE 68105-1065

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(1):122. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670250128027

To the Editor.—  Byrd et al1 presented a good description of what Birt and Davis2 and we3,4 call hereditary polymorphic light eruption (HPLE) of the American Indian. By not making this distinction, the authors overlooked some interesting aspects of a disorder that is unique for Native Americans of North, Central, and South America.4 The large group of Finnish patients described by Jansen5 exhibited such characteristic HPLE symptoms as autosomal dominant transmission, seasonal springtime onset, and a high incidence of cheilitis.6 The frequent occurrence of cheilitis, often as the only presenting symptom of HPLE, has been reported in Canada,7 the United States,4 and Honduras.8 Jansen did not cite cheilitis as the initial symptom in any of his patients, but its appearance in 47 (46%) of 103 persons leads one to wonder about a remote ancestral association with the American Indian.Although the

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