|MadSci Network: Biochemistry|
Hi Danny, That's a difficult question to answer. If you mean can you consciously control your heart rate by thinking about it, then the answer is I don't know. One always hears about yogis who can control their metabolism to such a degree but I have no idea about mechanism. If you mean, is there a neural component to the control of heart rate then the answer is yes. Your mental state can easily affect your heart rate- think of how you feel right before an exam or before other emotional events. Both arms of the autonomic nervous system, sympathetic (adrenaline which increases HR) and parasympathetic (acetylcholine which decreases HR) can effect cardiac function and are linked to the way you think and feel although you may not consciously be aware of this. Take care, Terry
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