[Skip to Navigation]
March 1955

High Energy Electrons for Generalized Superficial Dermatoses

Author Affiliations

Boston; Cambridge, Mass.

From the Department of Allergy and Dermatology (Dr. Fromer) and the Department of Radiology (Dr. Smedal), The Lahey Clinic, and from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Dr. Trump and Mr. Wright).

AMA Arch Derm. 1955;71(3):391-395. doi:10.1001/archderm.1955.01540270103018

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the effects of high-energy electron therapy upon the clinical skin manifestations of a group of patients with atopic dermatitis, disseminated neurodermatitis, generalized exfoliative dermatitis, and psoriasis.


A compressed gas insulated electrostatic accelerator of the Van de Graaff type produced the high-energy electrons or cathode rays. The High Voltage Research Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., made available its equipment and facilities for these studies.

The electrons emerge from the tube extension of the Van de Graaff accelerator in a treatment room below the instrument. The electron stream finally passes through a narrow slit at the bottom of a cone, 1 meter long, and emerges as a downward directed ribbon of electrons through which the patient is passed (Figure).

Trump and Van de Graaff* showed that the biologic effects of high-energy cathode rays and