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June 1960

Arsenic Values in Various Skin Diseases: Estimated by Activation Analysis

Author Affiliations

Glasgow, Scotland

Department of Dermatology, Stobhill General Hospital, and Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Glasgow.

AMA Arch Derm. 1960;81(6):931-935. doi:10.1001/archderm.1960.03730060047008

Arsenic poisoning is known to produce or to be associated with exfoliative dermatitis, pigmentation, keratoses, squamous-cell epitheliomata, herpes zoster, and "rashes" clinically suggestive of lichen planus. Furthermore, particularly with regard to malignancies, there have been suggestions by Anderson (1932) and Montgomery and Waisman (1941) that there may be an etiological connection between arsenic in the skin and the development of basal-cell epitheliomata. But similar acute and chronic skin lesions may appear in the absence of any abnormal exposure to arsenic. Normal skin contains a small amount of arsenic, and it is conceivable that a variation in this arsenic content may result from dietetic or metabolic factors. In view of this, it seemed of interest to investigate arsenic values in the skin of patients who were suffering from eruptions which were apparently idiopathic but which resembled those characteristic of arsenic poisoning.

Such an investigation was not possible by ordinary chemical methods,

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