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December 4, 1943


JAMA. 1943;123(14):904-905. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840490032014

Prolonged artificial reduction of body temperature to levels 10 to 15 degrees below normal was suggested as a method of treatment for incurable cancer.1 This suggestion renewed clinical interest in the physiologic effects of hypothermia, particularly in its effects on antimicrobic resistance. The earlier tests of the effects of chilling on natural and acquired immunity2 are inconclusive because of the relatively small reduction of body temperature then studied and the relatively short duration of the hypothermia. Hardy and his colleagues3 of Cornell University Medical College have therefore tried to produce hypothermia in laboratory animals of the same severity and duration as that suggested in cancer therapy.

By giving rabbits a massive intraperitoneal dose of sodium pentobarbital and then placing them in a special refrigerator the rectal temperature could be lowered to 88 to 91 F. for as long as ninety-six hours without lethal effects. Guinea pigs would