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March 2, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(9):747-748. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810090025007

To Dr. Stearns S. Bullen,1 of Rochester, N. Y., belongs the credit of first calling attention to karaya gum as an allergen, in reporting a case of perennial hay fever from this substance. The patient was a woman, and the source of the karaya gum was the wave set material used on her hair. The following year Feinberg2 reported a case of asthma due to karaya gum. Recently, through personal communication, I have learned of additional cases of sensitivity to the gum from Dr. Ralph Bowen, of Oklahoma City,3 Dr. John Mitchell,3 of Columbus, Ohio, and Dr. John Sheldon,3 of Ann Arbor, Mich. To the reported cases, I here add sixteen cases from my own practice.

Attention is again called to karaya gum because of its widespread use in wave sets, the substance having almost supplanted flaxseed, quince seed, tragacanth and acacia for this purpose.