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July 13, 1929


Author Affiliations


From the Cleveland Clinic.

JAMA. 1929;93(2):116. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.27110020004013b

That white spots and streaks may appear in the nails is common knowledge among both the medical profession and the laity. Perhaps because of an old superstition they are often spoken of as "gift" or "fortune" spots by the latter. These spots and streaks are chalky-white deposits in the nail substance and first appear near the lunulae, gradually moving toward the free margin with the growth of the nail. At one time they were thought to be caused by the infiltration of air into the nail substance, but Heidingsfeld1 has shown that they are due to the failure of cells to undergo complete keratinization. His observation was confirmed by Sibley.2

Unna has divided leukonychia into three groups: (1) leukonychia punctata (spots); (2) leukonychia striata (bands), and (3) leukonychia totalis, in which the whole nail is involved. Leukonychia may result from malnutrition, febrile disease, trauma or any agency that