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May 1951

STUDIES ON HEADACHE: Mechanism of Headache and Observations on Other Effects Induced by Distention of Bladder and Rectum in Subjects with Spinal Cord Injuries

Author Affiliations


From the Neurological Section of the Department of Neuro-Psychiatry, Veterans Administration Hospital, Bronx, N. Y., and the Department of Medicine (Neurology), Cornell University Medical College.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1951;65(5):568-580. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1951.02320050025003

HEAD AND RIDDOCH,1 in their classic experiments on patients with gross spinal cord injuries, found facilitation of spinal reflexes in that part of the cord below the level of the lesion and without suprasegmental control. It was shown that a sufficient stimulus to any receptive surface whose afferent fibers entered the distal stump of the cord was liable to evoke a massive response which overflowed widely into regions of the spinal cord normally associated with other reflexes (assuming that recovery from spinal cord "shock" and resumption of reflex activity of the distal stump of the spinal cord was not prevented by such complications as general infection and toxemia).

Especially investigated were abnormal autonomic reflex effects due to afferent impulses from bladder and bowel distention, both those of spontaneous occurrence due to urinary obstruction or flatulence and those artificially induced by inflation of the bladder or enemas. Outbursts of intense

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