Sun. Nov 17th, 2019

Islamic Web Library

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The Heart According to Modern Science

6 min read

The following excerpt is taken from “The Intelligent Heart, The Pure Heart: An insight into the Heart based on the Qur’an, Sunnah and Modern Science” under chapter 1:

The analogy of the heart to a pump was first made in the nineteenth century. The steam engine had just been invented and the pumping movements of its pistons impressed physiologists to the extent that they likened this motion to that of the heart.10 Even if we look at the pumping efficiency alone of the heart, it is remarkable. The heart beats about 100,000 times a day, forty million times a year and it beats non-stop throughout a lifetime. It pumps two gallons of blood per minute and over 100 gallons per hour. The vascular system that is transporting this life-giving blood around the body is over 60,000 miles long, which is more than twice the circumference of the earth. From the moment it begins beating (around week twelve of gestation) until the moment it stops, the human heart works tirelessly. In an average lifetime, the heart beats more than two and a half billion times without ever pausing to rest. However, science has now conceded that which the Qur’an stated fourteen centuries ago – that the heart is not just a pumping organ. Recently, a new medical field known as neurocardiology has emerged, which studies the science of the nervous system in the heart. J. Andrew Armour, M.D., Ph.D., is a pioneer in the field of neurocardiology for his groundbreaking research in the area of anatomy and function of the heart’s intrinsic nervous system. He has uncovered the presence of neurons in the heart; the same type of cells that are also present in the human brain. There are over 40,000 of these neurons in a human heart – a quantity comparable to a small centre of the human brain. Furthermore, the nervous system of the heart is made up of these neurons, which are capable of processing information without the help of neurons from the brain. The neurons of the heart obtain information from the rest of the body and make appropriate adjustments and send back this information from the heart to the rest of the body including the brain. In addition to this, these neurons possess a kind of shortterm memory, which allows them to function independently of the central nervous system. These findings prompted Armour to refer to the nervous system of the heart as the “little brain in the heart”12 and he draws the following conclusions about the functions of the heart as a result of his research: “The heart possesses its own little brain, capable of complex computational analysis on its own. Data clearly indicate that the intrinsic cardiac nervous system acts as much more than a simple relay station for the extrinsic autonomic projections to the heart…

An understanding of the complex anatomy and function of the heart’s nervous system contributes an additional dimension to the newly emerging view of the heart as a sophisticated information processing centre, functioning not only in concert with the brain but also independent of it.”

Mushtaq, Dr. Gohar. The Intelligent Heart, The Pure Heart: An insight into the Heart based on the Qur’an, Sunnah and Modern Science . Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd.. Kindle Edition.