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September 27, 1941


Author Affiliations

Albany, N. Y. Assistant Resident in Neurology and Psychiatry, Albany Hospital; Assistant in Neurology and Psychiatry, Albany Medical College
From the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry of the Albany Hospital and Albany Medical College.

JAMA. 1941;117(13):1090-1091. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.72820390002009b

Hines and Brown1 in 1932 introduced the local application of cold stimuli as a procedure for the quantitative estimation of the reactivity of the vasomotor system. They were seeking a standard stimulus to increase the blood pressure. The cold pressor test has since been extensively used.2

These investigators1 describe the changes which occur when the hand is immersed in ice water: "The systolic and diastolic blood pressures immediately rise, and return to the basal in from one to two minutes. Similar results are obtained by placing a foot in cold water, but there is no augmented response by placing both hands or both feet, or all four extremities, in ice water. We assumed that the basis of this reaction is the sudden stimulation of the cutaneous nerves of temperature and pain. The response is too rapid to be the result of hormonal and chemical influences."

To prove

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