Medicine: Mind over Heartbeat

One day last winter, 44-year-old Aircraft Mechanic Vernon W. Hansen of Strathmore, Calif. (100 miles north of Los Angeles) lay frightened on his hospital bed. He had told doctors that if left alone he could stop his heartbeat. Although he had done it in the past, Hansen feared that he might not be able to "will" his heart back to working. He turned on an electrocardiograph, then, "simply by allowing everything to stop," silenced his heartbeat for five seconds. After a deep breath, he was back to normal. Last week, writing in California Medicine, Dr. Charles M. McClure of Lindsay, Calif,...

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