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We are in agreement with many of the points which Dr. Shaw made in his letter. In fact, I thought that we had made many of those points in the article. The dive reflex is certainly a conservative reflex, and cannot be blamed for death in terms of its normal operation. The striking feature of our experiments was that, when the initial stimulus was removed, two of the very young monkeys did not spontaneously recover. Respirations had to be established by resuscitation. It is this aspect that we emphasized in our speculation about cause for sudden infant death (SID). The ease with which the very young monkey could give up respiration, with a potentially fatal outcome, raises the possibility of reversion of the control of respiration to a stable "off position," similar to the fetal state. Although Dr. Shaw rightly points out that fetal animals make respiratory movements, these are
GUNTHEROTH WG. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome-Reply. Am J Dis Child. 1972;124(5):787-788. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110170165029