Posted in Psychology & Medicine


Blood, which supplies all the cells in the human body with nutrients and oxygen, flows through the vessels due to the pumping of the heart. Thus, blood flow directly transmits the force generated by every heartbeat. As the blood ejected by the heart causes the arteries to “pulse” by stretching and relaxing. As some pulses can be felt over the skin, they are very useful in patient examinations, especially a clinical exam of the cardiovascular system. Although people commonly know how to take a pulse from the wrist or neck, there are many more places a pulse can be taken from.

  • Radial pulse: Taken from the inside of the wrist on the side of the thumb.
  • Brachial pulse: Taken from the inside of the elbow.
  • Carotid pulse: Taken from where the neck meets the jawline, or 2~3cm either side of the Adam’s apple to be precise.
  • Apex beat: This measures the heartbeats directly, taken on the left chest between the 4th and 6th ribs (around the left nipple).
  • Abdominal pulse: Taken from above the belly button of a lying patient, may be able to see the pulse.
  • Femoral pulse: Taken from the middle of the groin. 
  • Popliteal pulse: Taken from the inside of the knee.
  • Posterior tibial pulse: Taken from the inside of the ankle behind the bone.
  • Dorsalis pedis pulse: Taken from the back (upper side) of the foot along the middle.

When taking a pulse, you use your second and third fingers (and the fourth if you want) and press lightly on the pulse point. If you press too hard, you may stop the blood flow and obliterate the pulse. As a pulse is measured per-minute, it is often taken for 10 or 15 seconds and multiplied by 6 or 4 respectively. Also, it should be noted whether the pulse has a regular rhythm, and if it is irregular, whether it is regularly irregular or irregularly irregular. If the pulse is over 100 beats per minute, it is called tachycardia, while less than 60 beats per minute is referred to as bradycardia. If it is irregular, it is called an arrhythmia.

An experienced doctor can diagnose different conditions such as an aortic stenosis or atrial fibrillation just from taking the pulse of the patient. Taking a pulse is also a crucial diagnostic tool in traditional Korean and Chinese medicine.


Posted in Psychology & Medicine

Love And Heartbeats

A thumping heart is often quoted as the first sign of love – a way of your body telling you that the girl or boy in front of you is what you desire.
But does love come first or does your heartbeat come first?

Although most people believe that their heart is beating faster because they’re in love, science proves that it is in fact the opposite.
An experiment was designed where male subjects were asked to answer a questionnaire given out by an attractive woman. One group had to cross a very long suspension bridge first, the control group had to cross the same distance on flat, solid ground. It was found that men from the first group were more likely to complete the questionnaire, give answers that were more romantic and sexual, and even call the survey girl afterwards.

Similarly, a group of men were shown four women while being connected to headphones that played back their own heart sounds. They were then asked to rate which girl was the most attractive.
After the experiment, it was found that the third girl received a landslide win, despite the different tastes of each man in the group. When asked, the subjects all replied that they heard their heart speeding up, thus believed that they found her the most attractive.
The twist was, when the third girl was shown, the audio was changed from the subject’s heartbeat to a pre-recorded heartbeat that beat faster than normal. Therefore, the men were fooled into thinking that the girl was more attractive by “increasing” their heart rate. This phenomenon was found in women also.

The answer to the question is that dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters secreted when a person is in love, also has the effect of increasing one’s heart rate. The brain therefore can misinterpret an increased heart rate as the effect of love through false association.
This effect is quite well known in dating tips as people are encouraged to go to places that invoke fear or excitement, such as an amusement park, horror movie, or high place to gain the best response from the opposite sex.
Ergo, science does play a role in love and just like anything else, it can be easily manipulated.