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September 30, 1974

The Winds of Helvetia

Author Affiliations

Zollikerberg, Switzerland
Meteorologische Zentralanstalt Zurich, Switzerland

JAMA. 1974;229(14):1865-1866. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230520013012

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To the Editor.—  Obviously, Drs. de Takats and Cohan should spend more time in Switzerland in order to get acquainted with the Föhn problems (228:287 and 288, 1974). During this meteorological condition, there is not only an increase in the admissions to mental hospitals, particularly due to suicidal attempts, but also to surgical and medical wards. There also is an increase in such events as accident-proneness and myocardial infarction. Furthermore, a distinct increase in hospital mortality, above all by thromboembolic complications, has been described.However, the Föhn is not just a wind. It is not felt blowing in the larger agglomerations such as Zurich, where most of the aforementioned studies have been performed. Neither has it much to do with electric potentials, which are known to play a role in the sensitiveness to changes of weather. The Föhn is mostly a warm wind coming from the south which, after crossing