Medicine: The Midday Sun

White people who live in tropical climates—according to Kipling, Conrad, Somerset Maugham and other tale-spinners—generally suffer a morbid decay called tropical deterioration. Not so, say the scientists. A monumental study recently published in Medicine argues that white men, if well-fed and guarded against disease, can thrive in the tropics.

One indication is the excellent health of World War II troops in the jungles and tropical heat of the Southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia. Two teams of U.S. and Canadian Army doctors and scientists, seizing a ready-made opportunity to conduct one of the first big-scale studies ever made of white men in the...

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