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January 9, 1967

Myoedema in the 1930's

Author Affiliations

Johnson City, Tenn

JAMA. 1967;199(2):135. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120020129035

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To the Editor:—  The letter from Drs. Lenthall and Donovan (Myoedema in the Detection of Hypoalbuminemia, 198:329, 1966) evoked in me a feeling of nostalgia for my youth—lost in the Great Depression of the 1930's. Boys and girls in those days often produced these "knots" with a sharp, karate-like blow to the biceps of an unsuspecting victim. It was commonly recognized that the "ridges" could be produced more easily in some individuals than in others. Furthermore, practitioners of this game knew that the size and duration of the welt was roughly proportional to the force exerted, that the muscle must be completely relaxed when the blow is delivered, and that everyone gets "lumps" if properly struck. Those who did not get them invariably had tensed the biceps in anticipation of the blow. This is why such individuals could be made to show this phenomenon only when stealthily approached and