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50 Years Ago

Science Past from the issue of September 24, 1960

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SCLEROSIS AND COSMIC RAYS — Radiation bombarding the earth from space may be a factor in the occurrence of multiple sclerosis, the Harvard University neurologist Dr. John S. Barlow believes.… Dr. Barlow’s statistical study of the distribution of multiple sclerosis shows that the frequencies of occurrence of the disease vary systematically with geomagnetic latitude. The intensity of cosmic radiation is the only phenomenon known to be related to geomagnetic latitude.… [The disease] is much more common in the northern parts of Europe and North America than in the southern areas; and it is extremely rare in the Orient, South America, Africa, the tropics or subtropics.

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