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June 5, 1937

Current Comment

JAMA. 1937;108(23):1975. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780230035014

COLLAPSE WHILE SWIMMING  The fact that collapse and sudden death while swimming may be due to hypersensitiveness to cold has now been generally recognized. Horton and Roth1 of the Mayo Clinic now report a further study of this phenomenon, stating that in Minnesota alone approximately 3,000 persons have drowned while swimming since 1920, and that it seems likely that at least some of them were victims of this abnormal reactivity. Physical agents such as cold, they state, probably cause increased permeability of the tissue cells and permit the release of chemical substances. As a result of cold it seems that a histamine-like substance is released and that this, in addition to producing the usual urticarial changes locally, frequently attains sufficient concentration in the general circulation to produce reactions in every way comparable to those obtained when histamine is injected into the body. Nevertheless present chemical methods are not sufficiently