In a preliminary report Engman and MacCardle1 described briefly a decided reduction in the magnesium content of the skin of patients with chronic disseminated neurodermatitis. The fact that all the patients with a clinical diagnosis of chronic disseminated neurodermatitis showed this deficiency whereas there was no decrease in magnesium in patients with other inflammatory lesions of the skin strongly suggests that this type of neurodermatitis is a disease entity recognizable both clinically and chemically. The purpose of this study is not only to ascertain whether neurodermatitis is a histologic entity but also to present in detail the histologic features observed in 33 cases of chronic disseminated neurodermatitis in order to provide an accurate basis of comparison for a subsequent description of the minerals in ashed sections of skin from the same patients.
The basic factors concerned in the development of chronic disseminated neurodermatitis are unknown. Fifty years ago Brocq