To elucidate diurnal variations in eye movement and fetal heart rate (FHR) variability in the term fetus, we observed these two parameters continuously for 24 h, using real-time ultrasound and Doppler cardiotocograph, respectively. Studied were five uncomplicated fetuses at term. The time series data of the presence and absence of eye movement and mean FHR value for each 1 min were analyzed using the maximum entropy method (MEM) and subsequent nonlinear least squares fitting. According to the power value of eye movement, all five cases were classified into two groups: three cases in the large power group and two cases in the small power group. The acrophases of eye movement and FHR variability in the large power group were close, thereby implying the existence of a diurnal rhythm in both these parameters and also that they are synchronized. In the small power group, the acrophases were separated. The synchronization of eye movement and FHR variability in the large power group suggests that these phenomena are governed by a common central mechanism related to diurnal rhythm generation.
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