Research: Death by Reflex?

The hyaline membrane disease that kills at least 25,000 infants every year (among them: Patrick Bouvier Kennedy) and the heart attacks that are fatal to 500,000 adult Americans seem poles apart as subjects for medical research. But doctors half the world away from each other have just implicated the same reflex as a possible cause of both killers: a primitive response apparently built into the human body to protect it against asphyxiation.

Concentrates the Blood. University of Oklahoma's Professor of Medicine Stewart Wolf, who was working on heart disease, and seven physicians (six Americans, one Malaysian) working on hyaline membrane...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!