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YANDELL HENDERSON, Ph.D.
JAMA. 1934;103(11):834-837. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.72750370006012.
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ASPHYXIA NEONATORUM 20  There is no good reason to look, as many writers have done, for any reactions in the neurorespiratory system of a baby, either before or after birth, essentially different from those of an older child or adult. The normal baby starts to breathe under essentially the same stimulus that causes an adult to breathe again after holding his breath. If in the adult the breath holding has been aided by a preliminary period of voluntarily forced ventilation, the analogy is even closer. The reason that the fetus does not breathe in utero is that its blood is too well arterialized to stimulate the fetal neurorespiratory system, which is rather inexcitable so long as the lungs are atelectatic. If respiratory efforts do occur, the thoracic muscles, which are barely strong enough to dilate the lungs with thin air after birth, fail to draw in more than a minute

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