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JAMA Dermatology a Century Ago
August 2013

Dr Arthur W. Swann

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(8):900. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4007

Dr Arthur W. Swann made 2 unique contributions to medical therapeutics. In a series of experiments performed at New York’s Roosevelt Hospital in 1909, he attempted to verify the New England folk remedy of using bee stings to cure rheumatism. His initial results were encouraging, though for whatever reasons he never published his final conclusions.

In the February 1913 issue of the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Dr Swann was the first to report the use of subcutaneous epinephrine to treat urticaria. Not only did he find this therapy extremely effective, but he presciently concluded “that epinephrin [sic] might be used to advantage in certain more serious yet similar conditions. One such condition is ‘angioneurotic edema’ in its various forms…. Another such condition is anaphylaxis, with severe bronchial spasm and edema.”1

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