Diurnal changes in the power spectral characteristics of eye movements and heart rate variability in the human fetus at term

Seiichi Morokuma, Naoki Horimoto, Hitoo Nakano

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6 Citations (Scopus)


It is well known that 1/f characteristics in power spectral patterns exist in various biological factors including heart rate variability. In the present study, we tried to elucidate the diurnal variation in spectral properties of eye movement and heart rate variability in the human fetus at term, via continuous 24-h observation of both these parameters. Studied were five uncomplicated fetuses at term. We observed eye movement and fetal heart rate (FHR) with real-time ultrasound and Doppler cardiotocograph, respectively, and analyzed the diurnal change in spectral properties, using the maximum entropy method. In four of five cases, the slope values of power spectra for both eye movement frequency and FHR, ranging approximately between 0.5 and 1.8, indicated diurnal variation, where the slopes tended to have high values during the day and low values at night. These findings suggest that, in the human fetus at term, eye movement and FHR are under the control of a common central mechanism, and this center changes its complexity as seen through diurnal rhythm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 23 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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