Neurocardiology--Anatomical and Functional Principles, by J. Andrew Armour, M.D., Ph.D.
Groundbreaking research in the field of neurocardiology has established that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated information encoding and processing center, with an extensive intrinsic nervous system sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a "heart brain." This insightful 19-page monograph is authored by pioneer neurocardiology researcher Dr. J. Andrew Armour of the University of Montreal, who first introduced the concept of a functional heart brain in 1991. Here Dr. Armour describes the anatomical organization and function of the cardiac nervous system, which is comprised of a complex hierarchy of nested feedback control loops organized in three regulatory levels. He details the interactions that occur among multiple populations of neurons to maintain cardiovascular stability and maximize cardiac efficiency, and also considers the role of the cardiac nervous system in various forms of heart disease. Armour discusses intriguing data documenting the complex neuronal processing and memory capabilities of the intrinsic cardiac nervous system, indicating that the heart brain can process information and make decisions about its control independent of the central nervous system. By providing an understanding of the elaborate anatomy and physiology of the cardiac nervous system, this monograph contributes to the newly emerging view of the heart as a complex, self-organized system that maintains a continuous two-way dialogue with the brain and the rest of the body.
Important note: This is a technical monograph written primarily for medical professionals, students, and researchers with a background in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology.