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September 7, 1940


JAMA. 1940;115(10):813-819. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810360001001

At the turn of the century allergy was an unknown word. It was coined by Pirquet in 1906 to express the concept of an altered capacity to react, in an attempt to simplify the problems of "hyposensitivity and hypersensitivity." Perhaps time will justify its choice, but at present the term needs further clarification. Hence many immunologists and practitioners still prefer such terms as sensitivity, hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity, anaphylaxis and idiosyncrasy. Whatever the fate of the word allergy may be, or the concepts which prompted the origin of the term, it has profoundly stimulated thought, blazed new trails into the hinterlands of research and forged bonds of common interest between dermatology and other branches of medicine, particularly immunology.

Under this influence dermatology has made striking progress in the past four decades. Of special note is our growing knowledge of those groups of so-called eczemas which comprise perhaps three fourths of all cutaneous

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