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thaiboxerken
9th October 2005, 05:26 PM
I've heard this claim that "yoga" masters and other mystical people can stop their heart at will, but I'm skeptical and think this is a paranormal claim. Is it? One guy claims that his friend can do this, is he a candidate to become a millionaire?

eri
9th October 2005, 05:35 PM
I thought that they just slowed their heart rate; not actually stopped it. I've heard that changes in the metabolic rate can be brought about through meditation - not the actual meditating process itself, but through the overall state of relaxation the subject induces.

However, stopping the heart completely and restarting it at a later point would probably be considered paranormal, if the period inbetween was long enough for a health care professional to consider them legally dead.

That being said, I don't anticipate the claim being accepted for the JREF challenge, on the basis that it would be considered dangerous to the health of the applicant. It might fall under the same catagory as the people who claim they can go extended periods without nourishment.

BLACK HAT
9th October 2005, 05:41 PM
I would imagine that he would be a prime candidate to become dead if he stopped his heart.

A little poking around on the boards and you can find that there are ways in which a person may appear to stop their heart when someone checks their pulse.

But, it is a trick accomplished by squeezing an object tightly under your armpit.

thaiboxerken
9th October 2005, 05:48 PM
Yea, I know that trick.

Also, I think this could be a good challenge for the JREF. I don't think that the person being tested is truly in danger, as they aren't placing themselves in a dangerous situation.

Pedro Gomes
9th October 2005, 05:49 PM
.... But, it is a trick accomplished by squeezing an object tightly under your armpit.
Yes, that can stop one's pulse in that arm. In a recent thread, Anti_Hypeman referred this video (http://www.xenutv.com/cults/power.htm). In part 3, a guy uses that trick while a nurse is feeling his pulse (heís Carlos, an actor coached by Randi to impersonate a medium).

Atlas
9th October 2005, 06:01 PM
I've heard that some yogis have "stopped their heart" for three days and were buried in the ground for that time and then dug up and revived.

I also heard it explained that the heart does not actually stop but actually beats much more rapidly - but very very lightly. Blood keeps flowing but at a much reduced rate. Brain activity diminishes. Respiration seems stopped but must just be shallow or much slowed. Coffins don't really have a lot of air.

Has this interpretation been debunked? Has anyone else even heard of it?

Found a link with several scientifically documented meditative state phenomena. http://www.noetic.org/research/medbiblio/ch1.htm

During a remarkable experiment reported by L. K. Kothari and associates, a yogi was buried for eight days in an earthen pit and connected by leads to an EKG in a nearby laboratory. After the pit was boarded up, the subject's heart rate sometimes went as high as fifty beats per minute, until a straight line appeared on the EKG tracing when the yogi had been in the pit for twenty-nine hours. There had been no slowing of his heart immediately before the straight line appeared, nor any sign of electrical disturbance, but the experimenters proceeded with certainty that their subject had not died. Suspecting that their EKG leads had been deliberately or accidentally disconnected, they checked their machine and continued to monitor its tracings. To their astonishment, it started to register electrical activity some seven days later, about a half hour before the yogi's scheduled disinterment. "After some initial disturbance," they wrote, "a normal configuration appeared. The [speeded heart rate] was again there but there was no other abnormality." When the pit was opened, the yogi was found sitting in the same posture he had started in, but in a stuporous condition. In accounting for his remarkable EKG record, the experimenters argued that a disconnection of the EKG lead would have produced obvious markings on the tracings in their laboratory, as they found when they tried to simulate ways in which the yogi might have tinkered with it.

vbloke
9th October 2005, 10:51 PM
About 2 years ago, I had a bad bout of kidney stones. If anyone else here has had them, they'll know how painful they can be.
Whilst I was in hospital, in acute agony, they took my heart rate. It came out as 43bpm; normally, it's 65-68bpm.
I was concentrating very hard on the pain and trying to relieve the pain, which also manifested itself as a lowered heart rate. This sort of claim is, in my opinion, NOT paranormal.

Corpse Cruncher
10th October 2005, 01:37 AM
I have heard that some people with low blood pressure, predominately, can regulate their heart rates; and possibly stop and start them at will. Some also can do this without knowing it. How actually true this is I do not know. I have only ever seen one person at a gym do such a thing.

goodgirlonhere
10th October 2005, 04:46 AM
It could make sense on a medical level that one could reduce their heart rate to an extreme slowed paced but NOT stopped completely. The heart could be "trained" to slow down if one so desires to take on such a "feat". However, the make up of the heart would not allow it to "stop" completely. An electrical pulse may be needed to "restart" it if it did.
If you watch the formation of the human body from the zygote stage you will see that the heart if formed at the earliest stages of life. These cells form and create a "rythym". There ONLY function is to form together and pump. So somehow a person who wanted to stop their heart would have to figure out a way to overcome the desire to "beat" on a cellular level. If they could stop their heart they would also have to be able to stop a kidney, liver, or other organs as well. Could you tell if someone made their spleen stop functioning? Not very impressive or supernatural.:cool:
Yes I believe a person could slow down their heart to a point of it pumps slower than normal but complete stoppage intentionally not possible. If someone did stop their heart, then other organ failure would shortly follow. The brain may be first on that list which may mean they lose their ability to concentrate to "restart" the heart. A really bad Catch-22 there.:boggled:
Ps. People with severe hypothermia like falling into a frozen lake... even their hearts don't stop but slow down to a rythym not easily detected by stethoscope. The heart will change it's rythm during extreme periods of hypothermia which isn't a condition controlled by the brain/person. That situation wouldn't count as supernatural or able to stop the hear on command.

Zep
10th October 2005, 05:03 AM
My resting pulse rate is between 45 and 55 bpm naturally anyway, and I can consciously slow it noticeably further for short periods (to about 40). Have been able to do it for years, as I am asthmatic, and sometimes I definitely need to be able to control my oxygen usage (like when I get a wheezing attack). Scares the heck out of an unwitting doctor, I can assure you! Recently it made an automated ECG machine think I had a severe heart problem... :D

Incidentally, the yogi-in-the-grave story above? Sure sounds like it was a scam to me. 29 hours is plenty enough time for his confederates to organise his "escape" for a few days. And I suggest that the "testers" were in on the scam too - if the guy flatlined, wouldn't the VERY first thing to do would be to make a physical check on him to see if he was OK? Not according to this story - they just left him in there flatlined for seven more days! I call severe BS!

MRC_Hans
10th October 2005, 05:10 AM
I think the simplest explanation to the story Atlas quotes is: Fabrication.

It has several tell-tale characteristics.

- No identification of the experimenters (unless it whas the fellow writing the report?)

- False claims, like that 50bpm is a high rate. In fact it is a pretty normal (if not low) rate.

- Unlikely claims: Experimenters thought the yogi had died, but just calmly carried on the experiment.

- False technicalities: It is quite possible to fake a straight-line EKG, and an EKG operator would not claim otherwise.

Another posibility is that the yogi had a back-door from the pit. Once boared up, he shorted out the EKG electrodes (giving a straight line), land left. Then at the time he was to be "dug out" he returned, hooked himself back up (that would account for the "disturbances"), and was duly exposed, faking a dazed condition.

About whether the feat is eligible for the JREF prize: I'm not sure. There are accounts of people who have been declared dead but have been revived (or revived spontaneously), so apparantly there are some natural contitions that are at least dififcult to distinguish from death.

I would certainly advice the JREF to seek the advice of medical professionals, should such a claim come in an application.

Hans

tkingdoll
10th October 2005, 05:32 AM
Yea, I know that trick.

Also, I think this could be a good challenge for the JREF. I don't think that the person being tested is truly in danger, as they aren't placing themselves in a dangerous situation.

You don't think attempting to stop your own heart is putting yourself in a dangerous situation? Despite the fact that it could result in your death? :rolleyes:

thaiboxerken
10th October 2005, 08:08 AM
No, Tking, not unless they are using some tools outside if their willpower to do so. Simply put, these idiots claim that they can stop their hearts and have. Well, obviously if they have they can restart them and are in no danger. If they can't, then they are in no danger.

LordoftheLeftHand
10th October 2005, 08:57 AM
My heart stops (or at least pauses) several times a minute! LOL

LLH

magicflute
10th October 2005, 09:48 AM
The effect of slowing down your metabolism is well known in mammals. Example: Hibernating bears. So, it is not unknown. As to humans being able to do it and to what degree, that needs more investigation.

Gayle
10th October 2005, 02:54 PM
As was recently reiterated in the Dr. Sanjay Vashay homeopathic application, the JREF will not accept an application or protocol that puts health or life in danger.

Heart-stopping would definitely fall into that category. That makes it not even worth talking about as a challenge application. But it's always a fun topic for General Skepticism and the Paranormal.

Pedro Gomes
10th October 2005, 04:30 PM
.... If you watch the formation of the human body from the zygote stage you will see that the heart if formed at the earliest stages of life. These cells form and create a "rythym". There ONLY function is to form together and pump. So somehow a person who wanted to stop their heart would have to figure out a way to overcome the desire to "beat" on a cellular level. .... I’m not a doctor (not even close) but, from my general knowledge of biology (refreshed by a couple of lay-friendly web references, here (http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/nsdivide.html) and here (http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio105/nervous.htm)), maybe I could clarify this a bit. You are right in saying that an automatic mechanism would have to be overcome; however, your idea of the mechanism itself seems inaccurate or at least incomplete. Breathing, heart-rate, and blood-pressure are controlled by the brain. Specifically, the brain stem controls these functions via the autonomic part of the peripheral nervous system.

Our breathing rate is automatically controlled all the time that we don’t think about it (although, as a kid, I feared that after falling asleep I might “forget” to breathe :)). However, we can voluntarily slow down or speed up our breathing rate. This must mean that the diaphragm is normally controlled by the autonomic nervous system, but that we can also temporarily overcome that control via the somatic nervous system. (Temporarily, because if we alter our breathing rate indefinitely, the chemical balance of the blood will change to the point where we will pass out, and let the autonomic nervous system resume control).

If some doctor is reading this, please correct any inexactness. Anyway, I think the question is whether something similar can happen with the heart-rate: can its control be overcome voluntarily? If so, for how long, until the autonomic nervous system forcefully resumes control?

(Edited to complete the last question.)

Pedro Gomes
10th October 2005, 05:00 PM
.... I don't think that the person being tested is truly in danger, as they aren't placing themselves in a dangerous situation.
You don't think attempting to stop your own heart is putting yourself in a dangerous situation? Despite the fact that it could result in your death?
Linking to my previous post, I think that from a certain point of view it could be considered not dangerous, but an informed medical opinion would be needed (and, who knows, new medical knowledge as well).

Drawing an analogy with breathing: voluntarily holding your breath will not endanger your life, no matter how strong your will-power is, because at some point you will simply pass out and the autonomic control of your breathing rate will be restored. So, if heart-rate can be voluntarily altered and if it can be medically proved that, when life becomes in danger, the autonomic control will be inevitably restored, then stopping your heart would be as harmless as holding your breath.

Of course, from my part, the two “ifs” are pure speculation. For example, it could be discovered that voluntarily stopping one’s heart could have such immediate harmful effects in the brain that the restoring of autonomic control could be compromised... I’m just pointing out that the whole matter is trickier that it appears at first sight.

(Edited to correct minor grammar.)

Kopji
10th October 2005, 10:18 PM
The heart has its own electrical system and can beat for a while even if removed from the body. (Ask the Aztecs).

Some details here:

http://biology.about.com/library/organs/heart/blcardiacconduction.htm

The sinoatrial (SA) node is a section of nodal tissue that is located in the upper wall of the right atrium. The SA node is also referred to as the pacemaker of the heart.


Here's the names and more detail to go along with Atlas's story of the yogi:

http://www.sol.com.au/kor/10_02.htm

LK Kothari MSc MAMS, Arum Bordia MD, VP Gupta MD
Rabindinath Tagore Medical Colledge & Hospital; Udapur India

The yogic claim of voluntary control over the heart beat:
A letter to the American Heart Journal - 1973


The report is interesting. Technically, it might be control over body temperature, not heartbeat per se'.

Kopji
10th October 2005, 10:23 PM
These kinds of experiments both make me wonder, and annoy me at the same time. Here all these smart people go to all this trouble for the experiment, and only measure heartrate. Measuring body temperature would have eliminated a lot of questions.

How simple to do and yet not done.

epepke
10th October 2005, 10:31 PM
When I was a kid and really into self-hypnosis, I stopped my heart for five seconds once. It scared the fertilizer out of me, and there was a surge of adrenaline that started it right back up again. Nothing paranormal about it.

Since then I have stuck to more mundane amusements like wiggling my ears.

Kopji
10th October 2005, 11:23 PM
More on the Yogi:
They seem to have mostly gotten over the eyewitnesses skeptical suspicion that it was some kind of fake. The doctors muse about a hibernation ability called estivation:

http://physiologyonline.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/13/3/149

Meditation as a Voluntary Hypometabolic State of Biological Estivation
John Ding-E Young and Eugene Taylor

J. D.-E Young is Adjunct Professor, Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology, Rockefeller University, and President of Inteplast Corp., Livingston, NJ, USA. E. Taylor is Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Core Faculty member, Saybrook Graduate School.


New word for today - "estivation" (yeah I had to look it up)

A type of dormancy known as estivation occurs in certain animals for extended periods during the summer, when temperatures are high and water is scarce. Various species of desert-dwelling ground squirrels, insects, and snails experience this type of dormancy. Although little is known about estivation, scientists have established that estivating animals decrease their metabolism and breathing rate and are able to conserve body water.
http://encarta.msn.com/text_761552980___6/Hibernation.html



epepke
Couldn't start with something like having longer sex? :)

CFLarsen
10th October 2005, 11:38 PM
I've heard this claim that "yoga" masters and other mystical people can stop their heart at will, but I'm skeptical and think this is a paranormal claim. Is it? One guy claims that his friend can do this, is he a candidate to become a millionaire?

Hmmm.....forget the natural explanations. Why on Earth would someone stop his own heart?

It sounds very much like just another of those cheap tricks from Indian "God-men" that will enthrall unsuspecting peasants but won't stand skeptic scrutiny.

Throwing "fire balls", not "eating" for 2742 years, getting ashes to "magically" appear, regurgitating gold balls (whilst carefully not getting any of the goo on your silk robes by using a BIG silk scarf)....

Atlas
11th October 2005, 09:54 AM
I initially thought that way too, Claus. But these guys approach reality from the, "It's all an illusion" perspective. Plus the fact that heartbeat rates can be changed by breathing exercises and mental state suggests that those interested in discovering the mysteries of the inner life would use heartrate as an indicator of contemplative progress. And they would test the limits of contemplative control.

Every few winters lately there is a story a kid who falls though the ice. On very rare situations the kid is underwater for many minutes but is revived without any brain damage. Somehow the body acted for its survival limiting its own need for oxygen by slowing the heart rate and shutting its internal systems down.

This is something the body knows how to do but seldom is called on to perform. I think these yogis are merely discovering ways to access bodily behaviors that are outside our normal everyday limits. Some way outside. Since all activity is controlled by the brain, contemplative exercise seems like a possible avenue to control the normally involuntary responses voluntarily.

Actually, I think that legends arise from these practices. Yogis probably describe their contemplative adventures with phrases like "I felt like I was floating." After they're dead their disciples pass along stories about him that grow over time into "He could levitate."

I agree there's a lot of hokum with these guys but voluntary control of autonomic functions does occur to some extent. Stopping the heart for long periods seems like hokum but it can beat very slowly and still keep the organism alive in certain instances.

Pedro Gomes
11th October 2005, 02:28 PM
(Oops, apologies for the tiny lettering in my previous post! Guess I donít master the new fancy editor yet... :o)

epepke
11th October 2005, 02:43 PM
epepke
Couldn't start with something like having longer sex? :)

That has long since been taken care of.

I never could find the nerves to curl my tongue into the shape of an n rather than a u, though. I've always wanted to be able to do that since I read that about one in 30,000 people can.

goodgirlonhere
11th October 2005, 03:43 PM
The name of the cells I was refering to are "Stem cells". The very same that is in contraversy now. Stem Cells are the beginning of human life or any life. These cells manipulate themselves into our various body parts and organs. Each having their own "destiny" to form skin, organ, or bone.
The heart is one such special organ that the stem cells form in a rythym. So essentially the heart is NOT controlled by the brain but by it's own cellular structure. The brain may regulate body temperature but the heart is not an organ controlled by the brain. If it were, then why do brain dead people still have a heart beat?
Ironically, the first thing that Stem Cells form is a waste system! Then the heart muscle...the brain is formed after the heart. Therefore in conclusion it isn't possible for anyone to use their brain's to stop their heart....

epepke
11th October 2005, 04:10 PM
The name of the cells I was refering to are "Stem cells". The very same that is in contraversy now. Stem Cells are the beginning of human life or any life. These cells manipulate themselves into our various body parts and organs. Each having their own "destiny" to form skin, organ, or bone.
The heart is one such special organ that the stem cells form in a rythym. So essentially the heart is NOT controlled by the brain but by it's own cellular structure. The brain may regulate body temperature but the heart is not an organ controlled by the brain. If it were, then why do brain dead people still have a heart beat?

No, not really, or at least this is way oversimplified.

There are three kinds of muscle in the human body: smooth, striated, and cardiac. Cardiac muscle is unusual in that it does have a tendency to pulse by itself. Perhaps this is what you remember.

It is triggered and regulated by two neural nodes on the heart called the sinus and the auricular-ventricular (A-V) nodes. The sinus node dominates the A-V node (unless I've gotten them backward, in which case reverse all that apply). That is, the sinus node primarily sends signals to the A-V node, and the signals the A-V node sends back are less influential. Both the sinus and A-V nodes also send signals to the cardiac muscle. Both the sinus and A-V node have their own resonant frequencies; the A-V node's is somewhat slower than the Sinus node, for reasons that should be obvious to every engineer. Mathematicians will also find it obvious how this system exhibits chaos, which sometimes expresses itself as fibrilation.

The sinus and A-V nodes are also affected by two things. One is hormones. Another is a nerve going ultimately to the brainstem. The brainstem can keep sending signals on its own, but in turn it can be controlled by the rest of the brain. Anybody who has counted to ten to calm down from being angry has done this kind of thing.

This is obviously a massively redundant system. The heart has to work all the time, without fail. So if one part fails for a while, the other parts can kick in.

However, there are still problems. I don't know what they do now, with microsurgery and all, but twenty years ago, they didn't bother to connect the nerves that eventually go to the brain. The heart still worked. However, transplantees had to ramp up to exercize slowly, because the hormone mechanism is slower than the direct neural connection. I'm guessing that they didn't get tachycardia from slasher movies, either.

I really have no idea what I did when I stopped my heart. I'm guessing that I somehow persuaded my brainstem to send signals that disrupted the sinus/A-V node cycle. There was probably some activity going on in the cardiac muscle, but not enough to pump much blood through. (When you're self-hypnotized, you can hear the blood flow in your ears, and back then I had hyper-acute hearing. I've gone to enough rock concerts that it's normal now.)

Pedro Gomes
11th October 2005, 05:12 PM
The name of the cells I was refering to are "Stem cells". The very same that is in contraversy now. .... The heart is one such special organ that the stem cells form in a rythym. So essentially the heart is NOT controlled by the brain but by it's own cellular structure. .... [Post #27] Well, admittedly I'm ignorant of the current medical controversy you mention. What I wrote in post #17 was based on my knowledge of Biology from high-school, also expressed in the web references I provided. To be honest, your assertion that heart-rate is simply not controlled by the brain sounds a bit too radical to me, and epepke’s explanation about a “massively redundant system” seems to make more sense. Guess we need the opinion of a cardiologist or a neurologist here... :confused:

goodgirlonhere
11th October 2005, 06:30 PM
Cardiac muscle is known to keep beating outside of the human body. It is the ONLY muscle in the human body capable of having such a reaction. That is because the CELLS of the cardiac muscle formed early and developed rythmic pattern.
So if cardiac muscle can still beat OUTSIDE a human body with NO attachment to a body, then how can it be controlled by the brain or any other forms of control? Stopping heartbeat completely by mental power is impossible and has no purpose. Even in hypothermia patients, the heart beat does NOT stop, it just changes rythym or slows down.
I won't even begin about the electrical characteristics of the brain or heart...:covereyes

Atlas
11th October 2005, 07:16 PM
... So if cardiac muscle can still beat OUTSIDE a human body with NO attachment to a body, then how can it be controlled by the brain or any other forms of control? ...When we exercise we increase our heart rate. Chemicals in the blood or nerves carrying messages must get information to the heart.

If the brain does not affect the heart directly it regulates everything around it and the heart responds to the environment it finds itself in moment by moment, speeding up and slowing down.

Maybe in the deep contemplative meditation the body is in a state of relaxation that requires less and less oxygen - the heart rate and breathing rate will slow due to the lessened demand. There would be a limit to this somewhere above stoppage, to be sure - and this may not be what is happening at all or maybe it's just part of what is happening but it represents a method for the brain to affect heart rate, don't you agree?

goodgirlonhere
11th October 2005, 10:14 PM
Muscles don't have nerves. The heart is a muscle... The nerves are located under the epidermous layer of our skin and run throughout the body. They are also protected by the spinal cord and run to the brain.
There is the respitory, nervous, skeletal, musclular, and Circulatory system. The 5 systems running the human body. They all depend on eachother but are also independant of eachother. The skeletol system supports the musclular system by the muscles attaching to it. The Circulatory system then feeds the muscular system with fluids/blood. The respitory system feeds the circluatory system the needed oxygen supply to function and feed the muscles. The nervous system is responsible for telling and recieving information from all the systems.
The circulatory system is responsible for supplying the fluids/nutrients for all organs to operate including the brain. The brain couldn't operate unless the heart was pumping. You stop the heart... you can stop the brain. If the theory is that the brain can stop the heart, then how can a stopped brain restart a heart? Again, this stopping the heart scenerio is not biologically possible.

epepke
11th October 2005, 10:26 PM
So if cardiac muscle can still beat OUTSIDE a human body with NO attachment to a body, then how can it be controlled by the brain or any other forms of control?

I EXPLAINED it for you. I suggest you READ.

Atlas
11th October 2005, 11:01 PM
... The brain couldn't operate unless the heart was pumping. You stop the heart... you can stop the brain. If the theory is that the brain can stop the heart, then how can a stopped brain restart a heart? Again, this stopping the heart scenerio is not biologically possible.If the brain and body are not demanding oxygen the heart automatically goes into slow mode. Cold water drowning victims have been revived after up to 60 minutes of submersion.

The question I've been interested in concerns the appearance of heart stoppage. A heart rate sufficiently slowed will appear to be stopped to the casual observer.

But there were other claims by so-called scientific observers of yogis "stopping" their hearts. Some said the sound was diminshed so that it wasn't heard through a stethescope but continued to register on a EKG. That would seem like heart stoppage to a casual observer.

Another type of heart stoppage was actually a light controlled fibrillation, shallow rapid heartbeats. These were of relatively short duration - 15 to 30 seconds if I remember right.

It may be that the yogis who have been buried to demonstrate their heart stopping talent to science were faking it. Scientists can be fooled. None in the article I linked to in a previous post mentioned having a TV camera monitoring the yogi - Only medical equipment.

It may also be true that the body can learn to access states of contemplation that require different things of the heart and lungs. I see nothing paranormal but the cold water drowning survivors suggest the body is capable of more than we know.

epepke
13th October 2005, 09:13 PM
Another type of heart stoppage was actually a light controlled fibrillation, shallow rapid heartbeats. These were of relatively short duration - 15 to 30 seconds if I remember right.

That seems to me most likely, for those who aren't fakers (rather than fakirs).

thaiboxerken
17th October 2005, 04:11 PM
I guess the answer doesn't really matter, since those that claim to be able to do this won't succumb themselves to being tested.

Belz...
17th October 2005, 04:35 PM
Breathing, heart-rate, and blood-pressure are controlled by the brain. Specifically, the brain stem controls these functions via the autonomic part of the peripheral nervous system.

It's my understanding that the heart can beat on its own as well, given liquid to pump. Is that true ? If so, could you really stop it just by force of will ?

Belz...
17th October 2005, 04:50 PM
Cardiac muscle is known to keep beating outside of the human body. It is the ONLY muscle in the human body capable of having such a reaction. That is because the CELLS of the cardiac muscle formed early and developed rythmic pattern.
So if cardiac muscle can still beat OUTSIDE a human body with NO attachment to a body, then how can it be controlled by the brain or any other forms of control? Stopping heartbeat completely by mental power is impossible and has no purpose. Even in hypothermia patients, the heart beat does NOT stop, it just changes rythym or slows down.
I won't even begin about the electrical characteristics of the brain or heart...:covereyes

Though if you lose your head due to an unfortunate encounter with a guillotine, the heart stops, pretty much right away. I don't think it's the blood loss that does the job.

Checkmite
17th October 2005, 05:16 PM
The heart's rhythm, believe it or not, is produced by itself. The heart contains a network of muscle tissues specially designed to conduct an electric current - it's called the cardiac conduction system. The brain, to a limited extent, controls rate and strength of the beat - but the beat itself is produced involuntarily by the heart's pacemaker. The brain cannot send a message to the heart to completely stop, or subsequently start, beating. Severe physical trauma, an electric shock, or heart malfunction may cause the heart to stop beating - but the only thing that can restart an asystole (motionless) heart is itself.

The brain's control over heart rhythm is stimulus/response based. The brain compels the heart to beat faster or slower depending on things like blood-oxygen level, stimulation of particular nerves such as the Vagus, and chemicals in the blood. Through breathing faster or slower, one can cause a change in his heartbeat by controlling his breathing - slower breathing means less oxygen, which means a faster heartbeat. Faster breathing means more oxygen and a slower heartbeat. Chemicals like caffeine and epinephrine injected into the blood stream also have notable effects on heartbeat.

Gayle
18th October 2005, 12:37 AM
Thaiboxerken wrote:

I guess the answer doesn't really matter, since those that claim to be able to do this won't succumb themselves to being tested.

Let's say that I've been getting lessons from the Sacred Sister Fakirs of the Holy Stopped Heart. And the Sisterhood needs an infusion of cash.

So let's say I sweet talk and dazzle the usually discerning KRAMER into foregoing the affidavits and he accepts my application. I negotiate a protocol with the Center for Inquiry and the protocol calls for a medical doctor to be present to determine whether or not my heart is really stopped or if I'm a faker as well as a fakir.

I lay upon my bed of nails, concentrate, relax, breathe deeply and my heart stops. Flatlined. One minute, two minutes, two and one half minutes, three minutes and on and on. Flatlined.

What's the doctor do?

Just wondering.

Blindwatcher
18th October 2005, 04:58 AM
Everything else about what you said is pretty accurate, except I had to point out that:

Severe physical trauma, an electric shock, or heart malfunction may cause the heart to stop beating - but the only thing that can restart an asystole (motionless) heart is itself.

Asystole just means "without systole" or without the effective pumping phase. The heart can still be in motion (ventricular fibrillation has a great deal of motion, but it is very erratic and not a coordinated contraction, therefore futile).

Also, someone said above (too lazy to get the quote) that their "normal" heart rate is around 45 beats per minute? This is nearly a junctional escape rhythm, and may signify an a-v nodal block, but most likely is a bit of an exaggeration.

Pedro Gomes
18th October 2005, 01:44 PM
(I didn't intend this post to be so long, it just got a bit out of hand... :D)

It's my understanding that the heart can beat on its own as well, given liquid to pump. Is that true ? If so, could you really stop it just by force of will ? As I said, my knowledge of this matter is very basic. I was merely reacting to the idea that heart-rate would simply not be affected by the brain, which seemed to me a bit too radical. Meanwhile, Epepke wrote about a "massively redundant system", and Joshua Korosi established a distinction between the beating itself (produced by the heart) and the beating's rate and strength (to a limited extent controlled by the brain). Blindwatcher (welcome!) basically agreed with that explanation. Am I right in assuming that these explanations indicate it would be impossible to voluntarily stop the heart?

.... I lay upon my bed of nails, concentrate, relax, breathe deeply and my heart stops. Flatlined. One minute, two minutes, two and one half minutes, three minutes and on and on. Flatlined.

What's the doctor do? .... It may be of some interest to compare Breatharianism with your fictitious claim, regarding two aspects: a) the possibility of voluntarily creating the condition that will eventually endanger the person's life; and b) if that condition is created, the possibility of avoiding life danger.

In Breatharianism the claim obviously is not possibility (a): the person can simply decide to stop eating, there's nothing paranormal about that. The claim is possibility (b): that without food the person will manage to live on air and light, or whatever.

There's the strongest possible evidence that (b) is absurd: as if confirmation were really needed, a hunger strike will result in death if it lasts indefinitely and no external intervention takes place. So, I think it makes sense to (as a rule) reject such Challenge applications.

In turn, in "heart-stoppage" the claim is directly (a): that the person can stop their heart voluntarily. Moreover, this sort of claim could extend itself to (b): that the person would then manage to stay alive with a stopped heart for an amazingly long period of time, to eventually resume their heartbeat at will.

If the explanations given by other members in this thread are correct, (a) seems impossible. From this perspective, I'd say an application to the Challenge could be accepted: if the person cannot create the condition that would endanger their life, then it's safe to "test" the claim (in fact, it's not really a test, but more a way of showing the truth to the applicant and to other believers). However, the person could be taking advantage of a chronic heart condition by taking some knowingly harmful (dose of) medication, with the very intent to stop their heart during the test and pass it. This I think could provide good reasons to reject such applications.

Finally, there seems to be solid evidence that (b) is impossible: although there are reports of people being revived after surprisingly long periods of time, figures like a few hours or a day are out of the question. But I'd say that, should (a) be proven impossible, then (b) would be irrelevant to Challenge applications.

So, my guess is that, if the situation that you describe took place, most probably you would have either suffered a heart failure coincidentally, or managed to abuse a heart condition by means of medication (both condition and medication having passed undetected by the protocol). Therefore, the doctor should try to revive you. And your blood should then be analysed for substances that might prove fraud...

(Edited for minor corrections.)

Gayle
18th October 2005, 10:49 PM
Pedro, I think you're right. It seems as if it would be an ethical lapse, perhaps a criminal lapse, for a doctor to not attempt to revive someone who even appeared to have a stopped heart.

I personally doubt that a person could stop their heart for any significant length of time -- several minutes -- and then restart it at will. However, as you mentioned, there is the possibility of drugs being used.

When a million dollars are at stake, a person might do something foolish in order to win. People take life-threatening risks for much less.

The Sisterhood will have to go broke, I guess.

Pedro Gomes
19th October 2005, 06:28 PM
Thinking better, I suppose the JREF would never accept an "(a)" claim, like "I can stop my heart [but I don't know what will happen afterwards]", because then the claim itself would admit the possibility of life danger.

At best, I can conceive of the acceptance of the full "(a)+(b)" claim: "I can stop my heart and restart it at will". So, if the heart stopped (either by coincidence or by cheating) and reanimation were needed, it would be only half a "success" (a million trouble for no dollars...).

In fact, Gayle, the situation you imagined makes me wonder: can the JREF anywise accept a claim whose protocol requires the presence of a doctor prepared for reanimation? After all, if the request is made by the applicant, there's admission of possible life danger; and if it's made by the organisation conducting the test, much the same!

Gayle
19th October 2005, 09:29 PM
Pedro, I doubt if such an application would be accepted. An investigator would be ethically bound to attempt to revive the person with no heartbeat ... I would think. I don't see how such a claim could he ethically tested.

But that decision is not up to me. If I had KRAMER'S job, I'd probably last about three days before I went completely bonkers. And to think I used to be known for my patience. I can't even force myself to read some of the applications all the way through. They're that annoying to me. Before joining these forums I really had no idea that people who believe in the paranormal could be so ... so ... so ... like they are.

Gayle

Beerina
21st October 2005, 11:24 AM
My heart stops (or at least pauses) several times a minute! LOL

LLH

Hehe, actually, by taking a deep breath and holding it, I can make my heart more or less skip a beat. Nothing particularly paranormal about it, though.

At least, I'm pretty sure... :boggled:

Checkmite
27th October 2005, 12:20 AM
I personally doubt that a person could stop their heart for any significant length of time -- several minutes -- and then restart it at will. However, as you mentioned, there is the possibility of drugs being used.


There is a drug called adenosine, used in emergency settings in cases of lethal heart rhythms. It works something like an electric defibrillator - the drug actually stops the heart dead; for about 8 seconds in this case. Like the defribillator, the hope is that once the heart restarts, it will have restarted in a normal sinus rhythm. Adenosine has an extremely short half-life, and is administered intravenously in a location near the heart. The effect is practically instantaneous. One could try to inject this into himself in order to present the illusion of a willful stopping and restarting of his heart; however, unless the drug is administered properly, it will deteriorate in the blood stream (or muscle mass) before it has a chance to get to the heart. In any case, it should be easy enough to see somebody trying to inject himself with something.

Gayle
30th October 2005, 11:04 AM
Good point, Joshua. And more reason for the JREF to refuse to accept such claims. It's my understanding that in the case you have presented about heart-stopping drugs, doctors immediately shock the heart back into beating, with the hope the arrythmia will no longer exist.

People do all sorts of silly-a$$ things in order to win bets for small amounts of money or even just for ego gratificiation.

What might a person do for one million dollars?

Any application that poses a threat to human or animal life and safety should be rejected by the JREF, in my opinion.

Oh, wait, let me re-phrase that... life and safety, in a non-believing material-world sense.

I read two articles yesteday about how going to a fortune teller or using the ouija board can dangerously expose people to demonic oppression or possession. There are many such articles around Halloween. I admit I enjoy them immensely.

Gayle

God
2nd November 2005, 02:36 PM
Any one can slow it down. Just lay down when it's quiet, listen to your heartbeat, then breathe kinda deep at an even pace. (count if you want to) Breathe in a slow rythem. No quick ins or outs at any time. You'll feel your heart slow down after about ten or fifteen minutes. It will even get into rythem with your breathing if you keep it steady. But i dont think you can stop it cuz your brain wont let it stop, because it would starve for oxygen and you'd be a dead ass, six feet from the rest of your life. Then i'd send you to hell for killin yourself you wicked heathen!