Medicine: Measuring the Heart's Kick

If a man holds his breath and stands perfectly still on a bathroom scale, the needle wobbles slightly but visibly in time with his heartbeat. In theory, it should be easy to use this principle to get medically valuable information about the strength of the heart's thrust and about its subtle subbeats, thus disclosing how healthy the heart is. Inventive minds have been trying for more than half a century to devise an instrument that would yield reliable data. In New York City last week, Astro-Space Laboratories, Inc. demonstrated the latest ballistocardiograph,* which...

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