June 2nd, 2023,
5 min read
The goal of this study was to see if the way someone’s heart beats when they are resting can predict how it will react during a simulated diving test. 65 healthy people (37 women and 28 men) participated in the test, which involved holding their breath and dipping their face in cold water for as long as they could. The researchers looked at the participants’ heart rate before diving and during the test to see if there was a pattern. The results showed that the minimum heart rate during the diving test was connected to the heart rate variability when resting, especially in men. This shows that the way the heart beats during rest affects how it will respond during the diving test and that this response can be different for men and women.
People with brain damage (from strokes or head injuries) have trouble making decisions. Recently, researchers hypothesized this is because they tend to experience negative emotions, which affects their ability to make good decisions. The study therefore tested the effect of slow-paced breathing on decision-making. Participants were asked to breathe slowly for 5 minutes, 3 times a day for 24 days. They looked at 34 brain-damaged patients (16 men and 18 women) who either did this breathing or a normal breathing (sham training) every day. Heart activity, emotions, and decision-making skills were measured before and after the training. All patients started the study with weak decision-making, but only those who did the slow-paced breathing improved. This suggests that decision-making problems in brain-damaged patients may be because of how they process information, not because of damage to their decision-making abilities. More importantly, it suggests that slow-paced breathing can help fix decision-making problems in patients with brain damage.
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