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August 15, 1914


JAMA. 1914;LXIII(7):584-585. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570070064023

Although the narcotic phenomena produced by the injection of magnesium salts—a procedure introduced by Meltzer and Auer—are now quite familiar, the theories with respect to their behavior have not been in entire accord. It has been noted in animals without exception that a certain dose of magnesium sulphate or magnesium chlorid will produce a deep, often long-lasting anesthesia with complete relaxation of all the voluntary muscles and abolition of some of the more important reflexes. Recovery from such anesthesia is perfect. A larger dose of magnesium salt will produce profound anesthesia and a general paralysis, which, without any preceding or accompanying symptoms of excitation, lead sooner or later to death. The salt invariably effects reduction of excitation or its complete temporary or permanent abolition.

The question has been raised whether or not the symptoms observed represent a true narcosis of central origin or merely a profound paralysis involving the peripheral

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