Introducing atopy

Harold S Nelson

in Landmark Papers in Allergy

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199651559
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754241 | DOI:

Series: Landmark Papers

Introducing atopy

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
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  • Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology


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Robert Doerr was the first to recognize the need of a classification of the phenomena of hypersensitiveness. In attempting such a classification Doerr unfortunately chose as the main heading the term Allergie (allergy) which had been introduced by von Pirquet. This choice was particularly unhappy because Doerr felt obliged in using it to observe with some strictness the etymological significance of the term (altered reactivity). The result of this observance was the inclusion in Doerr’s category of allergies of phenomena of such different nature as to make their association valueless if not positively confusing . . . the writer [Coca] expressed the above outlined criticism of Doerr’s classification and suggested as a main heading the word hypersensitiveness. This word was already in general use in the literature of anaphylaxis; the writer merely proposed that it be recognized in immunological parlance as a technical term . . . to signify any form of specific peculiar reactivity in which the characteristic symptoms were different in the different animal species and were different from the normal physiological reaction to the respective agent.

Chapter.  1220 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Immunology ; Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology

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