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Unraveling the Mammalian Diving Reflex, Part I – September 3, 2002
Unraveling the Mammalian Diving Reflex, Part II – September 26, 2002

“When freedivers dive deep they activate a set of physiological reflexes that act as the first line of defense against hypoxia. Collectively termed either the diving response or mammalian diving reflex (MDR), the mechanism controls the shift of blood to the brain and heart, functioning in tandem as an important oxygen-conserving mechanism, not only in freedivers, but also in whales, penguins and seals (Figure 1). In fact, this amazing physiological phenomenon was first observed in deep diving mammals as early as the 1900’s, but until as recently as the 1950’s it was thought that humans did not possess the reflex.” – Erik Seedhouse

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