Letter | Published:

Terminology for Use in Lactational Physiology

Naturevolume 168page421 (1951) | Download Citation



RECENT advances in the elucidation of the physiological mechanisms of lactation, particularly those mechanisms concerned in the transfer of milk from the mammary glands to the young, have revealed inadequacies and ambiguities in the terminology in common use in relation to lactational physiology. An example of such an ambiguity is the term ‘to suckle’, which is at present being used to denote the activity of the lactating mammal or the young or both. In 1947, one of us1 proposed a scheme, now generally adopted, which classified and defined the major physiological components of the total phenomenon which is called ‘lactation’, and which has done much to clarify terminology in this field. We should now like to put forward additional terms which, if generally accepted, we believe will render the above-mentioned scheme more comprehensive and will largely resolve the ambiguities still in existence.


  1. 1

    Folley, S. J., Brit. Med. Bull., 5, 142 (1947).

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  1. National Institute for Research in Dairying, University of Reading

    • A. T. COWIE
    •  & S. J. FOLLEY
  2. Physiological Laboratory, University of Cambridge

    • B. A. CROSS
    •  & G. W. HARRIS
  3. Department of Physiology, University of Lund

  4. Department of Anatomy, University College, London



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