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Biotic patterns of heart rate variation in depressed and psychotic subjects.

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  • 1Chicago Center for Creative Development, Chicago, IL, USA.


This article presents novel quantitative methods to study R to R interval (RRI) series that identify their characteristic pattern of organization, Bios, and their variation in psychiatric illness. In this study twenty-four hour series of RRI were extracted from Holter recordings of healthy subjects (N = 74) and small groups of patients with affective depression or psychosis. These data were analyzed with recurrence and statistical methods. In all subjects, RRI series showed complexes (clusters of recurrences), such as those observed with mathematically-generated biotic series but not in chaotic or random series. RRI series from healthy persons showed diversification (increase in variance with the duration of the series analyzed), novelty (less recurrence isometry than copies randomized by shuffling), causal order (more consecutive isometry than shuffled copies), and asymmetric statistical distribution. These imprints of creative processes are characteristic of mathematical Bios, and are absent in chaos. Bios can be distinguished from random walk series by the nonrandom pattern of the series of differences between heartbeats, as well as by measures of consecutive isometry and of partial autocorrelation. These defining characteristics of Bios are significant signs of health. In comparison with healthy controls, psychiatric patient groups showed more isometry and more consecutive isometry than healthy subjects. Psychiatric patients also showed no diversification. This study highlights the process that produces heart rate variation as being non-stationary and creative (bios, not equilibrium or chaos) and causal (not stochastically generated by the coexistence of multiple factors). These results thus are significant regarding psychiatric health.

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