Laryngeal Physiology – a Century After Semon

Professor John Albert Kirchner delivered his Semon Lecture on the 5th of November 1981. He revisits Semon’s Law and concludes that damage to the motor fibres of the recurrent laryngeal nerve leads to vocal cord paralysis in or near the midline, and if the ipsilateral vagus nerve is also injured, then physiological inactivation of the cricothyroid muscle places the vocal cord in a lateral position. The respiratory centre is monitored by these receptors and they are necessarily in allowing reflex adjustments of laryngeal resistance to breathing.

Journal article version of the lecture

John Kirchner was born on the 27th of March 1915 in Pennsylvania, America. After his stint as a medical officer in the army, which earned him the Bronze Star, he spent much of his career as Chief of the Section of Otolaryngology at Yale University School of Medicine. Kirchner also spent much time researching and educating on the links between smoking and cancer.


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