Does the connection between the heart and love have something to do with how fast that muscle beats when you're in the presence of someone you love? Maybe, said Prescott, a trained cardiologist. But the precise lineage might be lost to the ages.
But that hasn't stopped the heart becoming a big part of modern society. In 1977, the heart logograph was officially used to replace the word “love” to promote tourism in the “I (heart) NY” campaign. In more recent years, video games used the heart symbol to show the vitality of characters and restaurants began to mark healthy dishes with it.
“All this heart talk does remind me of a story, though,” Prescott said. “Years ago, while on a trip to Mexico, I skipped a day — and then a whole week — of bird watching and spent my time painting a custom Valentine's card for my wife, Susan.
“But, of course, I painted a realistic heart. How romantic is that?”
Greg Elwell is a public affairs specialist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.