Friday, October 1, 2010

Heart Over Head?

Rejection Causes 'Heartbrake'

WASHINGTON - BEING rejected by another person can not only break your heart but also put the brakes on it, a small study conducted in the Netherlands has found.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University, in a bid to learn how social pain affects people physically, found that social rejection causes one's heart-rate to drop for a moment. The scientists enrolled 27 healthy students, aged 18-25, in a study which the participants were led to believe was aimed at gauging people's first impressions of someone else.
The students were asked to send the researchers a photograph of themselves, which would be sent to another university where students the same age as the study participants would look at the photos and decide whether they liked the person or not.
But that was just a cover for the real experiment. After sending in their photos, the study participants came to the laboratory, were hooked up to an electrocardiogram, and looked at pictures of students from another university whom they didn't know. A total of 120 photos of different faces were presented to each study participant, and they were then asked to guess whether the person in the photo said they liked them.
The participants wrote 'yes' if they thought they were accepted by the person in the picture or 'no' if they expected to be rejected by them, on one side of the photo. They then were given feedback as to how the person in the photo felt about them - although it wasn't genuine feedback but a response generated randomly by a computer for the study. When the feedback showed that the person in the picture did not like the student sitting in the lab, the study participant's heart-rate slowed momentarily.
The researchers called this slowing a 'heartbrake', and noted that it was more pronounced if the student taking part in the study thought the person in the photo would like them. These findings suggest that social rejection 'literally results in bodily responses reflecting social hurt', such as a slower heart-rate, and that rejection doesn't hurt quite as much when it's expected and you've braced for it, the researchers said. -- AFP


Human Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own, Scientists Say

AL-HASA: If you don’t think that the human heart has the capacity to think, think again. At least that is what leading cardiologists who are gathered in Al-Hasa for an international conference on cardiac sciences are saying.
“There is a brain within our hearts,” said Dr. Abdullah A. Abdulgader, director of the Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Al-Hasa. “This might come as a pleasant surprise to many, but here is a fact proven by the world’s widely recognized heart specialists.”
Abdulgader quoted two leading names in the field,  Dr. Rollin McCraty  of California's HeartMath Institute and Jeffrey Ardell, professor of pharmacology and vice chair for research at the Quillen College of Medicine in Tennessee.
Abdulgader said they presented their research on Wednesday while delivering their papers at the conference. “What they have revealed is that there are neurons in our heart similar to the ones in our brain, and the existence of neurons in our heart has led to the creation of a whole new area called neurocardiology,” he said.
“In Arabic this concept is being called ‘al-muqh al-qalbi.’ This is not hearsay. This has been proved though scientific experiments in the lab. These neurons are real. We have done this in histology and these neurons of the heart are something you can touch and see.”
Abdulgader said there are thousands and thousands of neurons in our heart. “The new research will have far-reaching results. So far, it was believed that the heart is nothing but a pumping machine that purifies blood. All focus of the scientific community was on the mind. That will change with new research. This indicates that heart is the key organ and not the brain.”
He said people in earlier eras believed that the spirit and the soul of a person was in the heart, but in the absence of any empirical data this could not be accepted by the scientific community. “Now we know that because of these neurons our heart has a capacity to think. These neurons are like a wire that is connected to the brain. Studies indicate that some of these neurons are going directly to the brain without any intermediary. They are going from very important sites in the heart to very strategic locations in the brain,” Abdulgader said.
So the new research again proves what was presented during the second day of the conference. “That a person should not be taken off a ventilator until and unless the heart stops beating.”
If the experts are right, the next time someone says he is speaking from the heart, perhaps you should take it literally instead of figuratively.
“These neurons are giving orders to the brain, which then leads to personality development and decision making,” Abdulgader said. “What has also been revealed is that the heart is sending more signals to the brain than vice versa. So you know who is the leader in our body.”

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