Heart Rate and Behavioral Medicine

An interesting editorial in the October 2015 issue of JAMA Psychiatry entitled “Low Resting Heart Rate as an Unequivocal Risk Factor for Both the Perpetration of and Exposure to Violence” is a remarkable announcement of a biomarker for predicting which child or adolescent is most likely to behave violently and/or become a victim of violence. It is based upon a robust Swedish study that can be downloaded here: Resting Heart Rate – JAMA. The JAMA Psychiatry editorial raises important scientific questions based upon this study. These include “Is low RHR also a robust risk factor for adult violence? Does it prospectively predict violence? And what about less serious offenses such as traffic violations?”

Anyone interested in the emerging field of behavioral biomarkers will see this study as a watershed event.