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LETTER TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir: In addition to the observation discussed on page 440, this issue ??Perspectives in Biology and Mediane, I have noticed a phenomenon occurringjust at the instant I am losing consciousness and going to sleep. It indicates how neuromotor as well as sensory events are influenced by attention. It relates to the gentle art of snoring. When I am in the never-never land between being awake but drowsy and truly asleep, I can feel and hear a noise during one or rarely two exhalations, when the tensor of the veil ofmy palate on one side relaxes. If I am lying on one side the musculus tensor vali palatini goes limp. It is always on the upper side. An exhalation produces an audible snore. If I let go I may go on and go to sleep, snoring for a bit, or the noise may wake me and the muscle tighten again so that the flutter valve effect disappears. If I concentrate on this, I do not go to sleep and it does not happen. It is when I am not paying attention that it suddenly intrudes upon my awareness and I arouse. It ceases. I came to observe this phenomenon when studying the unilateral sweating reflex which can normally be induced when the environmental temperature is such that the body is warm enough to excite perspiration [I]. If the temperature gets to the sweat range while one is already lying on one side, the lower side does not start sweating. If one is already sweating in a prone or supine position, or in an upright position or seated, and assumes a lying position on one side, the down side promptly stops sweating. It was in observing this that I first noticed the onset of unilateral snoring. Kuno [2], the Japanese physiologist, has observed that unilateral sweating is not necessarily a gravitational or orthostatic effect, since persons induced to sweat in the upright position will cease sweating on one side or will not develop sweating on one side when lateral pressure is applied. Thus, it is a baroreceptor phenomenon. If one has mild congestion of the nose, lying on the side tends to clear the upper nostril while the lower one tends to become congested and perhaps obstructed. Thus, at the beginning of a cold it is possible by shifting positions to keep the nostrils open or at least to keep one or the other open in alternating sequence. I described the unilateral sweating and the change in the nasal airway caliber in my book on Rare Diseases and Lesions [I]. Though I made both observations independently, unilateral sweating and the change in the nasal airway are well known to people who have studied such aspects of human physiology. Permission to reprint a letter printed in this section may be obtained only from the author. 508 Letter to the Editor REFERENCES 1.Bean, W. B. Rare Diseases and Lesions. Springfield, 111.: Charles C. Thomas. 2.Kuno, Y. Human Perspiration. Springfield, 111.: Charles C. Thomas. William B. Bean Department ofInternal Medicine University Hospitah Iowa City, Iowa 52240 "Ofa truth, men are mystically united, a mysterious bond ofbrotherhood makes all men one." [Carlyle] "It is generally believed today that life began in the sea . . ." [Baldwin— Comparative Biochemwtry] THE DREAM FISH The heart measures time like a sentient clock. Tight in the joy and the pain of its rhythm. As it beats, does the sea still move within us, Sweeping the shores of a distant consciousness? The blood should remember what the brain is too young to know. The sound of magic thunder, the smell of the rock, the taste of earth. For deep beneath the living waters the dream fish move. Their nerves thick with the sorrow of an inarticulate desire. Their secret, silent voices whispering down our veins. Celebrating the splendor and the wonder of man. Sharing the sun-warmth of a single skin, Breathing the sea tide of a common blood. Irwin M. Siegel Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Spring 1981 | 509 ...


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