2 OCTOBER 1880, Page 3

It has often been disputed whether London fogs, though they

certainly depress vitality, do actually kill. The question seems to be settled by Dr. Arthur Mitchell, who, in the Scottish Meteorological Journal, shows that during the fog which lasted from November, 1879, to February, 1880, and which was one of the most remarkable fogs on record, the deaths from certain diseases increased in a striking degree, while the ordinary death-rate from other causes did not decline. The fogs made bronchitis, pneumonia, and whooping-cough more deadly, but raised asthma to the rank of an immediately dangerous disease. The deaths rose from this cause through December to 43 per cent. above the average, and in January to 220 per cent. ; while in February, when the fog cleared away, the rate sank to 30 per cent. below the normal level. The remaining great towns of the island were remarkably free from fog, and the death-rate from asthma did not increase. There is every apparent proba- bility of a similar fog this year, London having been dark with fog in the upper air almost throughout the week, and this in spite of unusually brilliant weather all round. Some oculist of standing should publish a report on the effect of the special absence of light in London upon the eyesight of the population.