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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 12, 2002


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2002;287(22):2916. doi:10.1001/jama.287.22.2916-JJY20016-2-1

The effect of sunlight on population has been studied by M. Lugeon in the Canton Valais, Switzerland, and a brief statement of his results is given in Science, June 6. He finds that in the principal valley of the canton, between Martigny and the Rhone glacier, there is a marked difference in the populousness of the two sides of the valley; that most exposed to the sun having decidedly the largest population, and this does not appear to altogether depend upon the physical conformation, but he is inclined to attribute it mostly to the different exposure to sunlight. With one or two exceptions all the villages are on the sunny side of the valley and the dwellers on that side form a sort of aristocracy, being more prosperous and better educated and look with some contempt on their poorer neighbors on the shady side. In one village there are actual caste differences corresponding to the difference of exposure to sunlight of the dwellings. Of course, this may be largely a matter of voluntary selection; the abstract is not complete as regards possible physical differences in the people, but the publication of the study is suggestive from a medical as well as from a sociologic point of view.