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Climate and Health

Nature volume 134, page 174 (04 August 1934) | Download Citation



THE one hundred and second annual meeting of the British Medical Association was held at Bournemouth last week under the presidency of Dr. S. Watson Smith, who took as the subject of his presidential address “Climate and Health”. In the choice of this subject, he said, Bournemouth seemed a fitting place from which to speak. There are those who believe climate to be the most influential of the natural causes controlling the destinies of mankind. Apart from the secondary causes, biologically concerned, such as temperature, humidity, altitude, winds, soils, etc., the chief factor governing climate would seem to be insolation. The world distribution of sunlight, and the resulting variations of temperature, appear to determine the differences between coastal, plain, and hill climates; as also such matters as diversity of colour types of man. The importance of sunlight to life and health cannot be over-estimated, but it is desirable to impress upon the community that, whilst the sun is our greatest natural friend, it can, if regarded with disrespect, become an equally potent foe; for an excessive exposure to light rays, whether natural or artificial, not only entails fatigue and exhaustion, but also produces early degeneration of the skin. In the British Isles, all gradations exist between-the bracing and tonic, and the sedative and relaxing, climates, and a careful study of an invalid's general state of health and mental traits should be made before recommending the suitable place.

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