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February 1, 1936

CLINICAL TESTS OF FUNCTION OF THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

Author Affiliations

ROCHESTER, MINN.

From the Division of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic.

JAMA. 1936;106(5):353-357. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770050009003
Abstract

Physiologists have demonstrated that a large percentage of smooth muscle and glandular tissues, as well as some of the other tissues of the body, have a dual nerve supply. There are fibers from both the parasympathetic (vagus) and the sympathetic system. It is generally accepted that the impulses which reach these tissues through one set of nerves produce an antagonistic reaction as compared to the effects produced by the impulses of the opposite set of nerves. This opposition of two types of reactions produced by two sets of nerves has therefore led to the attempt to apply this information to clinical problems. There have been much clinical theorizing and some serious attempts to establish a physiologic basis for the explanation of functional disorders. The conception of vagotonia and sympathicotonia1 was based on the premise that in health there was an equilibrium or balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic division

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