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Autonomic Function in the Neonate: VII. Maturational Changes in Cardiac Control

Earle L. Lipton, Alfred Steinschneider and Julius B. Richmond
Child Development
Vol. 37, No. 1 (Mar., 1966), pp. 1-16
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1126424
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1126424
Page Count: 16
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Autonomic Function in the Neonate: VII. Maturational Changes in Cardiac Control
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Abstract

Cardiac-rate changes with abdominal air-stream stimulation were studied in 14 normal infants during the newborn period and the subsequent 5 months of life. By 2½ months the response pattern had changed significantly. This was characterized by a faster reaction, attenuated initial rise in rate, and generally a greater return to below prestimulus levels. In the older infants the overall heart rates were higher than in their respective newborn periods and during crying often achieved levels of 220-230 beats/minute. Response measures at 2½ and 5 months of age were often significantly correlated, demonstrating increasing stability after the newborn period. In the light of animal studies indicating early maturational changes in autonomic nervous-system function, it is hypothesized that significant changes in cardiac control mechanisms occur in the first months of life in the human infant.

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