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March 14, 1931


JAMA. 1931;96(11):865-866. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720370043015

A nerve deprived of oxygen rapidly loses its power to conduct the nervous impulse but soon regains it if oxygen is again supplied. It has been proved also that a nerve uses oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide during the passage of the nervous impulse and that this reaction liberates heat, which has been measured. Yet this does not prove necessarily that conduction of the nervous impulse is of an oxidative character, as waste products may be formed by the conduction, and these inhibit the process unless they are removed by oxygen.

After a nerve has been placed in an atmosphere of pure nitrogen, and oxygen is again admitted to the nerve chamber, there is an increased consumption of oxygen over the normal resting level, the increase being greater if the nerve is stimulated to activity during its stay in nitrogen. This demonstrates that a nerve is able to go