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February 5, 1916


JAMA. 1916;LXVI(6):431-432. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580320039019

In its general behavior as a nerve stimulant, caffein acts on the medullary centers. As a result, respiratory activity may be markedly accelerated, in part owing to an increased sensitiveness of the respiratory center, and in part, perhaps, because of an increase in the irritablity of the respiratory muscles. "The Pharmacology of Useful Drugs," reprinted from The Journal,1 states that "caffein is one of the best respiratory stimulants because the stimulation has little tendency to pass into depression even with large doses." In marked cases of depression of the respiratory mechanism, as from alcohol or in morphin narcosis, caffein accordingly forms a splendid antagonistic drug.

Some time ago Pal2 attempted to establish the truth of the assertion that caffein will overcome artificially induced bronchospasm, which is the counterpart of the familiar condition known as asthma. He explains the alleged effect by the supposition that the drug stimulates certain

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