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June 15, 1940

WHY "REFRIGERATION"?

JAMA. 1940;114(24):2402. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810240056021

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  Medical nomenclature should be simple, expressive and consistent. The current interest in lowering body temperature for therapeutic purposes by suitable cooling arrangements has resulted in newspaper headlines such as "Artificial Hibernation," "Frozen Sleep" and "Refrigeration." It is regrettable to find the repetition of such sensational titles in medical papers and in medical publications of standing. Artificial fever therapy has become generally designated under the term "hyperthermy" or "hyperpyrexia" and no one would think of speaking of the procedure as body "cooking" or "roasting" because external or internal forms of heating are applied. Hence it would appear logical for describing the reverse process of lowering the body temperature to employ the term "hypothermy." This would also tend to convey a sound conception of the physiologic process involved, which amounts only to a moderate lowering of the body temperature and can be accomplished by air cooling as well as

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