Is the Respiratory Rhythm Multistable in Man?
Multimodal distribution of the respiratory period (RP) recorded for several hours in cats was reported in recent investigations1–3. Under simplified conditions, in which unmedicated animals displayed three types of behavior only and gas exchange remained stable, RP distribution exhibited three modes: early during wakefulness, late during sleep and intermediate during drowsiness. When the sleep-wakefulness level shifted very slowly, RP always fell into one of the three modes for a while and then switched to one of the two others within few respiratory cycles. These observations suggested that the respiratory oscillation has several attracting or limit cycles, at least in the cat.
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