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January 30, 1967


JAMA. 1967;199(5):334-335. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120050076018

The disclosure that nonspecific mental retardation is associated with a generalized decrease in cerebral oxygen consumption, and concomitantly a decrease in cerebral blood flow, is not altogether unexpected.1 Other similar studies in the nonprogressive disorders of the brain indicate that a graded spectrum of impairment of neurologic function, from mild seizure states to severe spastic quadraplegia with profound mental deficiency, can be correlated with a decreasing supply of blood to the brain and a lower overall cerebral metabolic rate.2,3

Unfortunately this association of findings may encourage investigators to infer a causal relationship between the physiologic parameters and the functional derangement. Early in the last decade, in anticipation of the results cited, such thinking led to the ill-conceived carotid-jugular anastomosis to improve blood flow to the brain in retarded children. Based on unsound physiologic considerations, the operation had a short vogue because of frequent complications in spite of claims