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July 1949

ANOXIA OF THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM AND CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE: Report of Three Cases with a Note on the History of Asphyxia

Author Affiliations

From the Child Research Council and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Pathology.

Am J Dis Child. 1949;78(1):28-60. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1949.02030050037003

ALLUSION to asphyxia weaves through the history of medicine. - Yesterday's percepts have converged and cumulated in today's concept of anoxemia with its ultimate cerebral lesion.

Antiquities.—THe Edwin Smith papyrus—the oldest known medical treatise, which was written possibly around 3000 B. C. by the Egyptian physician, Imhotep—mentions the brain for the first time on record and declares it to be the seat of nervous and mental functions under the control of respiration.1 This pneumatic notion undoubtedly influenced the Hebrews during their captivity in Egypt. The first book of the Bible, "Genesis," refers to the breath of life.2 Ezekiel, while viewing the carnage of battle, was constrained to cry, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live."3 The composer of the Psalms deflated man in the verse, "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very

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