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Monday, 22 May 2017

Pulse

A pulse (or heartbeat) is a throbbing of blood vessels as blood goes through them. You can feel someone's pulse in anybody's body where vessels are closer to the skin.

The pulse may be felt in any place that allows an artery to be compressed near the surface of the body, such as at the neck (carotid artery), on the inside of the elbow (brachial artery), at the wrist (radial artery), at the groin (femoral artery), behind the knee (popliteal artery), near the ankle joint (posterior tibial artery), and on the foot (dorsalis pedis artery).

By Pia von L├╝tzau - Wikipedia

A normal pulse is below 100 beats per minute. Our pulse quickens when we exercise because the muscles being used need more oxygen.

Most mammals' hearts beat around one billion times in their lives. Species with shorter lifespans have faster pulse rates.

Humans and chickens are outliers in that homo sapiens get 2.21 billion and chicken gets 2.17 billion beats.

The ancient Chinese were among the first to diagnose illness by taking the pulse of an individual. By around 300 BC, Fifty-one different types of pulse beats had been developed at eleven different locations on the body. Each pulse was linked with a different health problem and the feeling of the pulse was emphasized as the most important aspect of diagnosis.

Herophilus (335–280 BC) was a Greek surgeon and anatomist who described the brain, liver and sexual organs and was the first western physician to measure the pulse, for which he used a water clock.

The Roman physician Galen had a rare understanding of psychosomatic illnesses. The wife of a Roman noble had been suffering from an organic complaint, for which her doctor had been unable to help her with. Galen was called for and while taking her pulse, he mentioned the name of an actor with whom her name was linked in the gossip of the town. Her pulse rate rapidly increased so he made an amusing comment, which made her laugh. That laugh began her cure and was an innovative example of a psychiatric treatment for a psychosomatic illness.

The first person to accurately measure the pulse rate was Santorio Santorii (March 29, 1561 – 22 February 22, 1636).  The Venetian physiologist, physician, and professor invented the pulsilogium, a form of pendulum, based on the work by Galileo Galilei.

Santorio Santorio.

The pulsilogium was probably the first machine of precision in medical history. Extensive experimentation with his new tool allowed Santorio to derive the circadian rhythm (24 hour cycle) of the cardiac frequency.

The dried leaves of the common foxglove plant, digitalis purpurea, has been used for thoudsands of years in heart medications. Digitalis slows the pulse and increases the force of heart contractions and the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat.

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