What is it about?

Our autonomic nervous system adapts the activity of our heart so that we can perform different efforts such as climbing stairs or running. But this adaptability changes with age and is slightly different for men and women. This work shows how cardiac activity varies with age and sex. The range of ages studied is the widest analyzed so far.

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Why is it important?

Our finding is useful in clinical medicine and in all disciplines related to physical activity. More fundamentally, it allows us to understand how living organisms evolved to adapt to their environment.


This work was possible thanks to a sustained effort over years. It was very important to standardize the acquisition and treatment of data, and I think that this is an important aspect to take into account in medical practice. The design of medical equipment and software must also consider this aspect. For example, data quality checkpoints can be included. From a more fundamental point of view, the characteristics of control mechanisms in living organisms can give us clues about their evolution and adaptability.

Isabel Irurzun
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The effect of age on the heart rate variability of healthy subjects, PLoS ONE, October 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0255894.
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