Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/310

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
304
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

vals, or by periodic accesses of an uninterrupted ache. The record of Mr. Washburn's introspection of his hunger pangs agreed closely with the record of his gastric contractions. Almost invariably, however, the contraction nearly reached its maximum before the record of the sensation was started (see Fig. 1). This fact may be regarded as evidence

PSM V81 D310 Intragastric oscillations recorded by a pneumograph.png

Fig. 1. One half the original size. The top record represents intragastric pressure (the small oscillations due to respiration, the large to contractions of the stomach); the second record is time in minutes (ten minutes); the third record ia Mr. W.'s report of hunger pangs; the lowest record is respiration registered by means of a pneumograph about the abdomen.

that the contraction precedes the sensation, and not vice versa, as Boldireff considered it. The contractions were about a half-minute in duration, and the intervals between varied from thirty to ninety seconds, with an average of about one minute. The augmentations of intragastric pressure in Mr. Washburn ranged between 11 and 13 in twenty minutes; I had previously counted in myself eleven hunger pangs in the same time. The rate in each of us was, therefore, approximately the same. This rate is slightly slower than that found in dogs by Boldireff; the difference is perhaps correlated with the slower rhythm of gastric peristalsis in man compared with that in the dog.[1]

Before hunger was experienced by Mr. Washburn the recording apparatus revealed no signs of gastric activity. Sometimes a rather tedious period of waiting had to be endured before contractions occurred. And after they began they continued for a while, then ceased (see Fig. 2). The feeling of hunger, which was reported while the contractions were recurring, disappeared as the waves stopped. The inability of the subject to control the contractions eliminated the possibility of their being artifacts, perhaps induced by suggestion. The close concomitance of the contractions with hunger pangs, therefore, clearly indicates that they are the real source of those pangs.

Boldireff's studies proved that when the empty stomach is mani-

  1. See Cannon, American Journal of Physiology, 1903, VIII., p. xxi; 1905, XIV., p. 344.