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December 22, 1928


JAMA. 1928;91(25):1997-1998. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02700250061020

The constancy of the basal metabolism is one of the most striking of physiologic phenomena. This heat production represents the irreducible minimum of energy change; it is the basal oxidative reaction of the cells of the organism under certain set conditions of muscular rest and absence of digestive activity. The value obtained for the given age and sex is a resultant of many factors, both inherent and environmental, and when expressed in the most acceptable way, as calories per hour for each square meter of body surface, is remarkably uniform. Statistical analysis seems to indicate that external influences, such as climate, food and activity operating through or conditioned by the nervous system and the glands of internal secretion, do have some effect on basal metabolism. It would seem, therefore, that a psychic element affects, in part, the activity of the cells and that, in a sense, there is in the

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