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October 21, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXIII(17):1049. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450690053010

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The bactericidal action of light is without doubt one of our greatest safe-guards, though it has hardly been duly appreciated. Direct sunlight, it is estimated, kills the tubercle bacillus in two or three hours or even less, and other pathogenic species are similarly vulnerable to its rays. Acting on this knowledge, Finsen, a Danish physician whose method is described in the British Medical Journal of September 9, has harnessed the sun's rays, so to speak, for therapeutic purposes especially in the treatment of the tuberculous skin lesions of lupus. He has found that the chemical rays alone are effective for this purpose, and the heat rays of the red end of the spectrum have necessarily to be excluded in the concentrated sunlight he employs. His method here suggests that perhaps the movers of the blue glass craze of the seventies were wiser than they then knew, though their diffused and

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