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May 25, 1895

PRE-COLUMBIAN LEPROSY.

Author Affiliations

LATE FOREIGN MEDICAL DIRECTOR, TOKIO HOSPITAL, JAPAN. NEW YORK.

JAMA. 1895;XXIV(21):803-807. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430210025003f

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Abstract

Dr. Franz Boas, who has given to the study of American races more time and interest perhaps than any other man living, who has just returned from an investigation of the Indian races of British Columbia, tells me that the Tenachca and Nass River Indians, whose diet consists mainly of small fish, smelts and shell fish (this is the diet which has always been supposed by the common people, and by many doctors, to be the predisposing diet of lepers) are not leprous, but exceedingly syphilitic. Locomotor ataxia is almost epidemic among them. Dr. Gowers, of London, and many of our own specialists assert that locomotor ataxia succeeds syphilis, and that without syphilis there is very little locomotor ataxia. This is not my opinion. My experience in Japan, during two years of hard work, made it evident to me that in that region where they have lived in close familiarity

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