Jan 13, 2008
Centrally controlled heart rate changes during mental practice in immersive virtual environment
Centrally controlled heart rate changes during mental practice in immersive virtual environment: A case study with a tetraplegic.
Int J Psychophysiol. 2007 Nov 29;
Authors: Pfurtscheller G, Leeb R, Friedman D, Slater M
A tetraplegic patient was able to induce midcentral localized beta oscillations in the electroencephalogram (EEG) after extensive mental practice of foot motor imagery. This beta oscillation was used to simulate a wheel chair movement in a virtual environment (VE). The analysis of electrocardiogram (ECG) data revealed that the induced beta oscillations were accompanied by a characteristic heart rate (HR) change in form of a preparatory HR acceleration followed by a short-lasting deceleration in the order of 10-20 bpm (beats-per-minute). This provides evidence that mental practice of motor performance is accompanied not only by activation of cortical structures but also by central commands into the cardiovascular system with its nuclei in the brain stem.