Medicine: Capsules, Dec. 17, 1956

¶ The trouble with the iron lung and its portable little brother, the chest respirator, is that they make the patient breathe in a fixed rhythm and give him just the same amount of air each time. Now researchers at Nashville's Vanderbilt University report an electronic device which can be hooked up to either type of respirator and lets the patient breathe more naturally—when his own nervous system dictates, and as deeply. It works by electrodes taped to the chest: they pick up electrical nerve impulses intended for the paralyzed breathing muscles, divert them to an electrical amplifier which controls the...

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