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November 2, 1963


JAMA. 1963;186(5):509-510. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710050083017

More than 10 years ago the Johns Hopkins team, using Starr's ballistocardiograph, reported that the change in pattern due to smoking a cigarette seemed "to differentiate normal persons from those with coronary disease more adequately than other available means of study." At the 1960 symposium on nicotine at the New York Academy of Science, the specificity of this test was confirmed by several observers.1

In the Starr ballistocardiogram, the systolic waves become smaller during expiration, although the systemic pulse waves increase slightly. As Starr was the first to note, the expiratory decrease in the systolic waves is greater in old men than in the young, in those with heart disease, and even in those "normals" who—in follow-up studies now extended to over 20 years—show a high incidence of cardiac disease later in life. Cigarette smoking, tobacco chewing, or giving nicotine causes a prompt decrease in height of the systolic

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