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October 1917


Am J Dis Child. 1917;14(4):233-257. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1917.01910100002001

Cannon and Washburn,1 and Carlson and his colaborers have given us a proved method for studying hunger objectively; its time of occurrence, its intensity, its effects, and the means by which it may be produced or inhibited. They have shown that contractions of the so-called empty stomach cause the hunger sensation. These contractions depend in part on vagus tonus. They can be increased by chemical changes in the blood, but are primarily due to a gastric mechanism as purely automatic as is that of the heart.

Impulses set up by these contractions and carried to the higher centers are, in the normal consciousness, recognized as hunger. These impulses produce secondary effects such as restlessness and irritability. They increase the reflex excitability of the central nervous system, the heart beats faster, and there are changes in the vasomotor mechanism. Well fed, sedentary adults seldom experience hunger. The prime factor in