The role of functional diagnostics in the

 maintenance and improvement of health



Man's desire to be healthy is very natural. A healthy life is a full one, and likely to be much longer. The term “health” in a physiological sense is usually linked with the concept of “norm”. A healthy state means no significant variation from the norm of the main essential indices. But because of age, sex, profession and other differences, the universal norm doesn’t exist. Each man is healthy in his own way, and his personal norm depends on many factors: age, sex, social position and so on. Thus, there is no universal recipe for good health. An individual approach is needed for each person. But how can we identify appropriate physical exercise? Or know whether a person should take any medicines or supplements? How does the lifestyle influence his health, etc? The subjective feelings of a person or a change in his physiological and biochemical indices is a belated reaction to a change in his functional state. Therefore, a prompt analysis of an individual’s condition is very important. Such analysis makes it possible to adjust quickly the programme of health improvement and so obtain the maximum benefit.

The transition from physiological norm to a pathological condition goes through several stages. During these stages the body tries to adapt to the new environmental conditions by changing the functioning level of separate organs and systems. To preserve the existing functioning level or to move to a level more suited to the new conditions, a certain degree of tension in the control mechanisms is needed. The purpose of this tension is to mobilize functional resources.

Functional resources include informational, energy and metabolic resources that enable the body to make specific adaptations. To mobilize these resources under changes in environment some tension is needed in the control mechanisms. The tension required to preserve homeostasis determines a person's current functional condition.

Adaptation to environmental conditions results in a specific outcome. If the active factors (i.e. those that disturb homeostasis) are weak or have only a short-term effect, the body can maintain satisfactory adaptation (i.e. preserve its optimal settings) with relatively small tension of the control mechanisms. If the impact is much greater or the duration longer, maximum tension of control systems is needed to mobilize the body’s functional resources and activate the corresponding defensors. Overstraining the control systems may lead to adaptation being disrupted, followed by inadequate change in the level of functioning of the body’s main systems. This results in abnormal homeostasis, i.e. the appearance of pathological syndromes and diseases.

The adaptive ability of the body is an indicator of the level of health. The level of health can be determined by the degree of adaption to environment conditions. It is possible to distinguish the following body conditions:

  • normal adaption

  • strain of the adaptive systems (unstable or insufficient adaption)

  • inadequate adaption, overstrain of the adaptive systems

  • reduced ability to adapt (exhaustion of adaptive systems)

Estimating the current functional state by indicators of the degree of tension and functional resources allows us to form judgments about a body's adaptive abilities and forecast its ability to preserve homeostasis in the main systems and organs.

Whether we consider an individual cell or organ, or a complete organism, there are four stages of functioning:

  1. renewal of structures with energy and nutrients from food and internal sources

  2. generation and consumption of energy in accordance with control commands

  3. receiving, processing and transferring command (signal) data that regulates the processes of metabolism and energy generation

  4. reconciling the structural, energy and informational levels of functioning

Pathological disturbances may occur at any of these levels. However, in most cases the pathology passes through the following stages:

a) time disruption

b) abnormal flow of information

c) abnormal energy generation

d) abnormal metabolism

e) destruction of the structures

The modern classification of diseases is based mainly on an evaluation of the last three stages and makes only partial use of the abnormal flow of information. However, the transition from health to disease originates with the temporal disruption of processes of functioning and the changes in information flow (i.e. abnormalities in the control of the physiological functions of body). Consequently, controlling the state of health should involve an analysis of information flow in the body’s control systems.

The cardiovascular system with its multilevel regulation is a functional system whose purpose is at ensure a specific level of functioning level in the whole body. The circulatory system, with its complicated neuroreflex and neurohumoral mechanisms, ensures a regular and adequate supply of blood to all parts of the body. Other conditions being equal, we can say that any specific functioning level of the whole body has a corresponding level of functioning of the blood system. Consequently, it is logical to evaluate and forecast the functional state of the whole body by using research data on the cardiovascular system.

The following points emerge:

  • Hemodynamic changes in different organs and systems appear earlier than corresponding functional abnormalities

  • Changes in information processes in the regulative mechanism of cardiovascular system appear earlier than energy, metabolic or hemodynamic changes

  • Early changes in the control system of the whole body can be detected by studying the processes of time organization, coordination and synchronization of information, energy and hemodynamic processes in the cardiovascular system

The diagnostic equipment that we ourselves use to assess health analyses information from electro-cardio signals. From an analysis of the heart rhythms, the information can be analysed on 4 levels of control:

  1. Peripheral or autonomous. This represents the condition of regulation at heart level.

  2. Vegetative. This represents the correlation of sympathetic and parasympathetic influences from a level which is higher than peripheral up to the centres of vegetative innervation in medulla oblongata.

  3. Hypothalamic-pituitary. This represents the condition of superior vegetative centres which are not sympathetic or parasympathetic, but combine the regulation of both parts of the vegetative nervous system. At this level the dual nature of regulation becomes apparent: nervous and humoral. It comes from the ability of the hypothalamus’s cells to be nervous and secretory at the same time.

  4. Central nervous system. This integrates and adapts the restructuring of the functional of the body under environmental influences.

Three important conclusions follow:

  1. The bioenergetic activity of the heart reflects the whole neurohumoral bond, i.e. the expression of fundamental feature of any living system to develop and display its features in process of interaction with an environment.

  2. Any changes in body, regardless of their place and reason, cause changes in rhythmic brain activity. At the same time, the control signals of the central nervous system cause reciprocal changes in heart rhythm.

  3. A particular phase displacement should be preserved between the oscillations within the Central Nervous System and those in the heart.

Neurodynamic analysis of electro-cardio signal parameters allows us to obtain all the necessary information about the condition of the body's organs and systems, to evaluate the general condition of health, and to fine-tune the programme at once, thus maximising the improvement in health.


During the preparation of this material we drew on the work of Prof R. Baevsky

 and report of the Russian Military Medical Academy.