December 13, 1924


JAMA. 1924;83(24):1926. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02660240040017

One of the surprises that come early to almost every intelligent student of physiology is the extent to which seemingly good muscular performance can go on without the participation of the brain and its appendages. Decerebrate frogs would ordinarily pass for perfect animals if they were not inspected too rigorously. They are capable of well coordinated movements that often indicate a remarkable complexity of interdependent activities and sequences. Our appreciation of such reactions is, if anything, enhanced by the newer knowledge of what the normal movement of a limb really involves. There is not merely flexion due to the active contraction of a muscle attached to a bone. Skeletal muscles are generally organized into opposing groups. The contraction of one of these involves the relaxation or inhibition of its opponent; otherwise there might be much futile competition of antagonistic muscles, such as those that respectively open and close the hand

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