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April 15, 1974


Author Affiliations

Belmont, Mass

JAMA. 1974;228(3):287. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230280015007

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To the Editor.—  I enjoyed your editorial, "The Great Winds of the Earth" (227:195, 1974).Some years ago, a group from Baltimore advanced the hypothesis that ionization of the atmosphere explained the effects of weather on people. They had ruled out temperature, barometric changes, humidity, and aridity. They reported that a statistical study of deaths by suicide in Switzerland showed that in the presence of the Foehn the suicide rate was higher. They also attached ionizing devices to air conditioning machines in offices and found that workers felt better when the air was predominately negatively ionized and less well when it was predominately positively ionized.More recently, a group of physicians in Israel found that when the khamsin was blowing, the number of depressive and anxiety reactions increased among the older age groups, and psychopathic behavior increased among the younger.