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  • Writer's pictureJeannette Andrea Jackson

The Heart-Brain Connection and The Human Electromagnetic Field..

Heart-Brain Interactions..

What do researchers mean when they talk about heart-brain interactions?

Researchers with the HeartMath Institute and other entities have shown that the human heart, in addition to its other functions, actually possesses the equivalent of its own brain, what they call the heart brain, which interacts and communicates with the head brain.

This heart brain communicates with the brain via a number of pathways, and the brain in turn communicates with the heart. Between them they continually exchange critical information that influences how the body functions.

Traditionally, scientists believed, it was the brain that sent information and issued commands to the body, including the heart, but we now know the reverse is true as well.

“Research has shown that the heart communicates to the brain in four major ways: neurologically (through the transmission of nerve impulses), biochemically (via hormones and neurotransmitters), biophysically (through pressure waves) and energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions),” HMI researchers explain in Science of the Heart, an overview of research conducted by the institute.

“Communication along all these conduits significantly affects the brain’s activity,” Science of the Heart states. “Moreover, our research shows that messages the heart sends the brain can also affect performance.”

Why is the heart brain connection so important?..

The quality of communication between the heart and the brain is increasingly being recognized as the key to our ability to perform at our best. The video below with Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Director of Research of the HeartMath Institute touches on why this is so important..

One important way the heart can speak to and influence the brain is when the heart is coherent – experiencing stable, sine-wavelike pattern in its rhythms. When the heart is coherent, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision-making.

These changes come about because the heart, when it is coherent, sends out information that causes the changes via the processes mentioned above – neurologically, biochemically, biophysically and energetically.

Although the heart and brain are automatically in constant communication, each of us also has in our capacity to consciously and intentionally direct our hearts to communicate in beneficial ways with our bodies.

When we intentionally experience sincere positive emotions such as caring, compassion or appreciation for someone or something, the heart processes these emotions and begins to become coherent and send out positive information throughout the entire body.

Read more about heart-brain interactions, using positive emotions to benefit us and HMI’s research at Science of the Heart.

The Heart-Brain-Body Connection..

The heart’s communication with the brain is particularly extensive. Its magnetic field is 5000 times stronger than that of the brain and electromagnetic signals travel from the heart to the brain almost instantaneously allowing for exceedingly rapid responses that help regulate brain physiology and make the heart a central node of cognitive and emotional information.

The heart’s magnetic field is also perceived by every cell in the body and can be detected up to 5 feet from the body. When other people and animals receive this energetic information, a phenomenon known as “frequency locking” occurs in which the cardiac energy of one person becomes synchronized with the brain activity of a nearby person.

Additionally, our bodies act as receivers of electromagnetic energy from our surroundings, including the earth’s natural magnetic fields generated by the molten iron at its core and, more recently, wired and wireless appliances and devices.

Electrical potentials of the heart naturally synchronize with the brain’s alpha wave activity within an individual and this coherence effect increases significantly in response to appreciative emotions which also create higher cross-coherence, or entrainment, between body systems.

In a clinical trial a single Reiki session produced significant improvement in heart rate variability compared to a group that listened to classical music and its benefits were comparable to those of the beta-blocker drug propranolol. Similarly, Healing Touch therapy has reduced anxiety and decreased length of hospital stay in coronary bypass patients. 

More Work to Be Done..

Current medical standards routinely measure quantum energy to diagnose disease states, but revert to a biochemical approach to treatment rather than incorporating the concepts of quantum physics, which acknowledge that energy and matter are one.

Additionally, characteristics of the subtle energy contrast with conventional paradigms that take a hierarchical brain-centred approach. This indicates the need for a broader perspective and a new paradigm that encompasses an integrated web of functional connectivity.

Biofield therapies are poised to merge biophysics with biochemistry so as to bridge this conceptual gap. In the future, our understanding of biofield energy will clearly elucidate the specific and predictable effects that alterations in energy patterns have on disease processes.

  • Positive emotions such as love generate a harmonious pattern in the heart’s rhythm, leading to coherence and greater emotional regulation.

  • The heart's energy is said to reach about three feet outside of the physical body.

  • It's possible to train the heart using positive emotions so the brain more consistently releases chemicals that support healing and well-being.

The heart is responsible for pumping blood to the entire circulatory system so that organs, tissues, and cells receive nutrients and oxygen and waste, such as carbon dioxide, is eliminated.

Research is proving the heart may be as intricate as the brain, referred to as "the little brain." The heart-brain actually sends more communication to the head-brain than the other way around.

The heart beats before the brain forms. When the brain is dead, the heart continues to beat so long as it has oxygen. In fact, the heart has 40,000 neurons and the ability to process, learn, and remember. It also has its own emotions.

Thanks to the field of neuro-cardiology, we are learning more about the intuitive nature of the heart and how we can apply this information to the relationship we have with ourselves and others.

The Heartmath Institute has been leading research related to heart-brain coherence. According to Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty, “Coherence is the state when the heart, mind, and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation. It is a state that builds resilience.”

When the parasympathetic and the sympathetic system are out of sync from emotions such as anger, anxiety or frustration, this produces an erratic rhythm or incoherent state. The brain receives this input which affects whether higher cognitive functions can be accessed to self-regulate.

Positive emotions such as compassion and love generate a harmonious pattern in the heart’s rhythm, leading to coherence and greater emotional regulation.

When harmonious interactions exist among the body’s systems, this is referred to as physiological coherence.

As this increases, so does the brain’s alpha activity which supports stress relief and creativity. This calmer yet focused state improves:

1.    Learning

2.    Making better choices

3.    An expanded view of options

The upside is plentiful as to why we should increase our heart’s harmony.

With an electrical component about 60 times greater and an electromagnetic energy field 5000 times greater than the brain’s, the heart has a significant influence on the body down to the cellular level.

The brain’s rhythms along with the respiratory and blood pressure rhythms entrain with the heart’s rhythm. This is the optimal state for human functioning.

The heart's energy is said to reach about three feet outside of the physical body and can be detected in another person sitting nearby via an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Can you bring to mind someone who, without even speaking a word, makes you feel light just by being in their presence? Have you ever been told, "You have such a positive energy about you"? The potential of how far our heart's electromagnetic energy field can reach continues to be studied as technology plays catch-up.

Additional benefits of heart-brain coherence include:

· Reduction in stress

· Adaptability to change

· Psychosocial well-being

· Higher cognitive capacity

· Performance improvement

· Resilience/Problem-solving

· Mental Clarity/Emotional stability

· Access to intuition and creativity

· Regenerative process/Anti-aging

How Can We Increase Heart Coherence?..

As the brain is able to be re-trained through neuroplasticity, so can the heart. In the same way, we build mental habits, we can develop new heart habits. Whatever the heart informs the brain, the brain responds accordingly. It takes changing what we have hard-wired in the communication exchange between the heart and the brain, and between the neurons in the heart, just like rewiring the communication between neurons in the brain.

If it has become the “norm” for the heart to feel chronic stress or anger, it is accustomed to communicating this to the brain. The brain triggers the body’s response in the form of stress hormones, constricted blood vessels, increased blood pressure, chronic inflammation, and basically makes the heart work harder. Putting the heart through constant emotional distress disrupts the body's balance and can lead to physical disease. As many have said, "Happiness is a choice," and so is sustainable joy.

Just as neuroplasticity is described as training the brain through learning, what if we trained our hearts using positive emotions so that the brain more consistently releases chemicals that support healing and well-being? By increasing awareness of what we are “feeding” the command center, we can be intentional about what we allow in, what we give permission to spread to the rest of the body, and even how we inspire others to feel around us.

Following are steps to stimulate positive emotions for greater heart-brain coherence:

1.    Bring focused attention to your heart. You can also place your hand(s) over it for a physical connection.

2.    Use Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath Technique. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale slowly with a wooshing sound for eight seconds. Repeat four times. This lowers the heart rate.

3.    Bring to mind something that makes you feel love, joy, or thankfulness. You can also create this in your imagination such as spending time with a child, a pet, or in spiritual presence.

4.    Amplify positive emotions that come forth such as amusement, hope, or inspiration. You can even give them happy or soothing colors. Allow a smile to form as you savor the moment.

5.    Visualize sending these feelings (aka, input) from your heart to your brain. Be as creative as you’d like, such as picturing them as healing light energy or shooting stars as your brain tingles.

6.    Expand to other areas of your body including cells and organs. Notice how they respond. Perhaps your cells are now vibrating with the energy of joy. I see my cells dancing!

If the preference is not to focus on controlled breathing or to bypass some of the steps above due to time, simply bringing up positive emotions that invoke calm through the heart-space will cause coherence.

Studies show that a prayer of gratitude or “heartfelt love” also increases cardiac coherence.

These are easy-to-execute interventions one can do any time anywhere.


As with any new practice, repetition is key to making it familiar to the brain as to the heart.

Doing any variation of these exercises right before bedtime can lead to deeply restful and restorative sleep as it clears out concerns.

Be purposeful about what your final thoughts are before you hit the sack as they will flow right into sleep.

Applying Cardiac Coherence in Other Areas..

Heart coherence training has permeated multiple industries from medical and corporate to law enforcement and educational environments. Coherency enables the ability to pick up data in another’s heart, beyond what the person has shared verbally. For example, a patient may be holding back fears. When the physician’s heart is already in a state of tranquility, this enables the doctor to be present and viscerally connected to respond with patient-centered insights.

The patient's heart can also be influenced to feel calm just by this transfer of energy which can trigger an alpha state supporting resilience, optimism, and the ability to see options.

When patients feel understood by a doctor's intuition, stemming from the heart-brain, innately the patient's level of trust and comfort increases, induced by oxytocin (the love hormone) released by the head-brain.

Can a Person’s Negative Heart Energy Affect Mine?..

When we are in a highly coherent state, we are less likely to be affected by another’s negativity. We are able to remain emotionally composed and adaptable to whatever is going on in the external world.

In fact, we can disrupt the incoherence in another person, who is much more susceptible to external influences. We can even enter a room and sway the hearts and brain waves around us.

When you feel light and joyful, take notice of how you got there. If you are in the company of another, allow yourself to wonder if it is your heart or theirs that caused that to happen.

The next time you encounter others, practice using your heart's electromagnetic energy field to redirect their emotions to the upside. In what ways can you put to good use your most powerfully attracting organ?

Heart Energy..

What does it mean that our hearts radiate energy and how can this influence our lives?

Neurocardiologists have discovered that there is literally a brain in the heart – that the heart itself is a brain.

They have found that an amazing 60 - 65 % of heart cells are neural cells like those in your brain. These cells are clustered in groups, or ganglia, just like the neural groupings of the brain, and the same neurotransmitters function in both places.

These connections provide the pathway of nonstop, direct dialogue – or resonance – between our head and heart. In addition, the heart’s ganglia connect to many other tiny ganglia, or “nonlocalized brains”, scattered throughout the body. The “heartbrain” communicates within the body neurally, hormonally, and energetically.

The Hearts’ Electromagnetic Field.. (EMF)

Heart cells not only pulse, they radiate a strong electrical field or signal, a current that has an amplitude 40 – 60 times greater than brain waves.

Energy – information that vibrates – flows constantly between the heart and the brain, assisting with emotional processing, sensory experience, memory and derivation of meaning from events, and reasoning.

In addition, the heart is one of the body’s major endocrine glands, producing at least five major hormones, which impact the physiological functions of the brain and body.

The heart has long been known as the center of the body, as well as the home of the soul. Under the correct conditions, such as when a person consciously “centers” or focuses in the heart, the heart begins to run the brain.

Entrainment or the management of the body through the heart rather than brain leads to higher functioning mental and emotional states, as well as a healthier body. Just consider the impact of sound, or words, we continuously receive. Highly synchronized cells, such as those compactly organized in the heart, are able to use background noise to increase the amplitude of an incoming signal – if they are interested in perceiving it.

Thus, the heart will “hear” what it is programmed to “hear”. If love resides in the heart, it will attune to love. If fear, greed, or envy resides within, the heart will access negativity.

New technology and a deeping understanding of how the body works have shown that our hearts are not a simple pumping machine used only for transporting blood around the body. 

The heart is considered part of the hormonal system of regulation in the body and directly influences many if not most systems. 

Along with this the heart radiates an electro-magnetic field that reaches far out from the body and can influence those around us or even persons at a distance. 

This implies that how we feel and what we think can alter the frequency of energy from our hearts for better or worse.

As a neuromuscular pump the heart has extraordinary power for an organ which weighs only 11 ounces…enough to move 2000 gallons of blood through an estimated 60,000 miles of blood vessels every hour.

This physiological function brings blood and blood borne nutrients to all cells, and it also carries cellular waste products on to their destinations for recycling or elimination.

The heart transmits electromagnetic information to all cells via the blood which carries this electromagnetic impulse 3 times faster than air.

This same radiant heart electromagnetic field also broadcasts for a distance of 10 to 20 feet away from the body.

Obviously, such a powerful emanation completely permeates all of our body’s cells, sub-cellular structures, and the DNA.

In addition to this electromagnetic field effect which the heart has on all cells, the heart also projects its biophysical pulse pressure wave to all cells and this energetic assists in cellular synchronization in all organ sites.

Other heart functions, discovered in the mid 1980’s, have led to the heart being classified as an endocrine organ due its secretion of atrial peptide as well as the catecholamine neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

The heart also secretes as much of the “love hormone” oxytocin as the brain does. Thus, the heart is a neural, endocrine, and vascular organ.

It is also an organ of supreme energetic significance in our lives.

Compared to the electromagnetic field produced by the brain, the electrical component of the heart’s field is about 60 times greater in amplitude.

The magnetic component is approximately 5000 times stronger than the brain’s magnetic field.

The power of these electrical and magnetic field projections allow for the fact that the heart’s energetic propagation can be detected at distance away from the body.

This field of energy has been measured using a type of magnetometer known as a super quantum interference device (SQUID).

This device was developed by J.E. Zimmerman and was first used to measure bio-magnetic fields in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The heart emanates the strongest of the fields which can be detected from individual organs.

If we had more sensitive instrumentation than the SQUID we would probably be able to measure an individual’s heart electromagnetic signature at greater distances, or even at infinite distances in the quantum field.Interestingly, the eyes emanate the second strongest energy field projection away from the body.

The eyes transmit quanta packets of information and intention, which is known as ideoretinal light.

This reality gives rise to the expression known as the power of the gaze, or, the power of the glance as well as other expressions which imply intention such as, “if looks could kill.”

We also experience a jolt of excitement and love when we perceive someone blessing us with their eyes.The field of life which surrounds us is felt to be toroidal in its configuration.

Our body is held in the heart’s electromagnetic field which also emanates as a toroid around our body.

The heart’s toroidal emanation is thought to be entangled with all levels of multidimensional creation, universal consciousness, and Source energy.

In 2005 I heard Deepak Chopra describe this entanglement effect as “a-causal, non-local, quantum mechanical inter-relatedness.”

He was saying that consciousness is without cause (is self creating), is in all locations at all times, and is wrapped up with itself, inside of itself, as itself, in an infinitely fractal manner.

Non-local correlation implies that everything is correlated and synchronized with everything instantly. In this consideration, time and distance are not linear.

Time and distance are circular and holographic. One part (holon) of a hologram contains the whole which recurves into itself infinitely in all of its parts…in infinite dimensions…worlds without end.

The Expanding Electromagnetic Field of the Heart..

It is human nature to let ourselves become fixed in certain patterns that can hold us back by constricting the heart, limiting what we are able or willing to feel and know.

It is by changing these patterns that you can allow your heart to express fully and to give light and love to yourself and then out into the world.

Our tendency is to seek out patterns of safety and comfort and security, but in truth these are transient and fleeting, often mere shadows of what we had imagined they could offer to us. Their magic does not last long, for our discontent surfaces eventually.

Why the discontent? Part of the reason is that we are not made to remain static or unchanging.

We are wired to be curious, to move beyond what we are. We are created with an insatiable curiosity to find answers, to experience life, and to allow the vulnerability of love.

The Energy of the Heart..

The heart seeks love. The heart IS love. This gives it immense power.

There is scientific evidence that an electromagnetic field of energy operates in your heart just below your conscious awareness:


“The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).

The magnetic component of the heart’s field, which is around 100 times stronger than that produced by the brain, is not impeded by tissues and can be measured several feet away from the body.” (HeartMath® Institute)


Imagine that kind of expansion, feel it extending out from your heart as you stand still in one place. That field informs you about what is going on around you every moment — and you can decipher those messages if you don’t react to emotions, you feel but instead “listen” to the awareness that lies beneath them. 

If you remember that those emotions are as transient by their nature as the “fixed” patterns you cling to. If you are open to allowing that awareness of the heart’s field to speak to you.


Heart Awareness..


You experience this electromagnetic field of the heart every day, every moment. It apprises you of the presence of others.

Through it you intersect at the energy level, the electromagnetic level, and sense your connection with other human beings — it informs you of the true nature of that connection.


The thought of changing our ways and beliefs — our fixed patterns — can frighten us, and some of us would do anything to prevent whatever we think that change means or could bring.

We feel threatened by it. Yet if we yield to that fear, we begin to close down the heart and attempt to shut down its expanded field, to retreat from connection and communication with others who do not share our “safe” patterns.


Yet even that does not really work. Eventually, all things change.

And that is the conundrum — as humans we seek security and predictability, but as humans, it is the last thing we are capable of sustaining.

We are always, in the present moment, in the midst of change that appears in the next moment, and the next, and the next. It is life. It is the heart of life. We are meant to live within that awareness.

Consider the amazing human heart, the organ that pumps life-giving oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood throughout our bodies on a precise schedule.

Now researchers are learning that this marvelous machine, the size of a fist and weighing on average less than 10 ounces, also possess a level of intelligence they are only beginning to understand.

Evidence shows the heart also plays a greater role in our mental, emotional and physical processes than previously thought.


“The heart is a sensory organ and acts as a sophisticated information encoding and processing center that enables it to learn, remember, and make independent functional decisions,” HeartMath Institute Director of Research Rollin McCraty wrote in the paper, The Energetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Communication Within and Between People.


Scientists at the HeartMath Institute like McCraty have been conducting research over nearly two decades that has shed light on what researchers now characterize as the energetic heart.


Power of the Heart’s Electromagnetic Field

The heart, like the brain, generates a powerful electromagnetic field, McCraty explains in The Energetic Heart. “The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body.

The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).”


HeartMath studies show this powerful electromagnetic field can be detected and measured several feet away from a person’s body and between two individuals in close proximity.


In the HeartMath study, The Electricity of Touch: Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between People, researchers set out to determine whether the heart’s electromagnetic field, as measured by an electrocardiogram (ECG), in one individual could be detected and measured in another person when the pair either were seated within about three feet of each other or held hands.


The results of The Electricity of Touch experiment were positive: The data showed “when people touch or are in proximity, a transference of the electromagnetic energy produced by the heart occurs,” the study’s authors wrote.


They observed that although additional research should be conducted, there were potential important implications raised by this research when viewed in conjunction with the success of numerous healing modalities.


Practices such as therapeutic touch, holoenergetic healing, healing touch, chi gong and reiki among others “are based upon the assumption that an exchange of energy occurs to facilitate healing,” according to the findings.

“While there exists scientific evidence to substantiate the physiological and psychological effects of many of these treatments, science has as yet not been able to describe a mechanism by which this putative energy exchange between individuals takes place.

This study, together with the work of (other research) … represents one of the first successful attempts to directly measure an exchange of energy between people.”


The Heart and Emotions..

The heart’s electromagnetic field contains certain information or coding, which researchers are trying to understand, that is transmitted throughout and outside of the body.

One of the most significant findings of HMI’s research related to this field is that intentionally generated positive emotions can change this information/coding.


That discovery raises the question whether the cardioelectromagnetic field information transmitted from an individual who is angry, fearful, depressed or experiencing some other negative emotion, takes on beneficial properties when it is influenced by positive emotions.

Also, is the care, compassion, love or other positive emotion not only transmitted throughout an individual’s body as the cardioelectromagnetic field radiates through it, but transferred externally as well to people in close proximity or even, perhaps, over long distances?


Although HeartMath is continuing to study the effects of human electromagnetic fields over large distances, researchers say the answer to the first question, whether self-regulated positive emotions can be beneficial to the individual, is yes.


“Through the use of tools and technologies that foster positive emotions and psychophysiological coherence, individuals can effectively initiate a repatterning process, whereby habitual emotional patterns underlying stress are replaced with new, healthier patterns that establish increased emotional stability, mental acuity, and physiological efficiency as a new familiar baseline or norm,” that was according to the paper Emotional Stress, Positive Emotions, and Psychophysiological Coherence. The paper, written by HMI researchers McCraty and Dana Tomasino comprised a chapter in the 2006 book, Stress in Health and Disease, published by Wiley-VCH.


Although additional research will be required to determine the nature and function of this energy/information the heart sends out, HMI’s researchers have conducted numerous studies on how positive emotions can affect us.

Participants in several studies, and indeed thousands of people worldwide who are using the HeartMath System of tools and technology, can attest to a broad range of benefits resulting from intentionally experiencing certain emotions, which HeartMath calls emotion self-regulation.

Assessing the Energetic Heart – Near and Far..

In one of HeartMath’s most recent studies, researchers examined whether there is an energy exchange, in this case heart-brain interactions, in one of the most intimate of human relationships.


The Proof of Concept Study: Heart-Brain Synchronization between Mother and Baby “explored the potential to measure energetic heart-brain interactions that may be occurring between a mother and her infant.”


Researchers were able to show that the mother’s brainwaves synchronized to that of her baby’s heartbeat. In this experiment, the baby was laying in the mother’s lap with a blanket placed in between mother and baby. In the summary of their findings, the study’s authors wrote, “ This preliminary data elucidates the intriguing finding that the electromagnetic signals generated by the heart have the capacity to affect others around us.

It appears that when the mother placed her attention on the baby that she became more sensitive to the subtle electromagnetic signals generated by the infant’s heart. … These findings have intriguing implications, suggesting that a mother in a psychophysiologically coherent state became more sensitive to the subtle electromagnetic information encoded in the electromagnetic signals of her infant.”


One of the questions being explored by the science-based Global Coherence Initiative, launched in 2008 by the  HeartMath Institute, is whether human electromagnetic fields can be influenced over much greater distances.


The GCI, which has an international participants of about 25,000, is utilizing advanced magnetometer sensing technology to observe changes in the earth’s magnetic field by, among other possible effects, mass human emotions.

The GCI’s greater purpose is “to unite millions of people worldwide in heart-focused care and intention, to help shift global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace,” and the HeartMath Institute believes that purpose will be served as scientists gain greater insight into the energetic heart.

Biofield science is revealing much about the workings of the human electromagnetic field and how it interacts with surrounding electromagnetic energy from the earth and other living beings.

One of the most important discoveries in biofield science has been the importance of the heart in setting and maintaining the body’s electromagnetic rhythms.

This is due to the fact that the heart’s electromagnetic activity generates the most powerful and consistent energy patterns of the body making it the centre of a network that encodes and connects electromagnetic fields and conveys information throughout the body.

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Jessica I. Morales, C.Ht., is a Certified Hypnotherapist and EFT Master Practitioner (Emotional Freedom Technique). (2019, January 15). Dr. Weil explains how to do his 4-7-8 breathing technique. Retrieved from

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Fredrickson, B., & Joiner, T. (2002). Positive emotions trigger upward spirals toward emotional well-being. Psychological Science, 13, 172–175).

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Zhihua Zheng, Yingtong Zeng & Junyan Wu (2013) Increased neuroplasticity may protect against cardiovascular disease, International Journal of Neuroscience, 123:9, 599-608, DOI: 10.3109/00207454.2013.785949.

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