Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 283–293

Non-equilibrium dynamics as an indispensable characteristic of a healthy biological system

Authors

  • Chung-Kang Peng
    • Harvard Medical SchoolGZ-435 Beth Israel Hospital
    • Center for Polymer StudiesBoston University
  • Sergey V. Buldyrev
    • Center for Polymer StudiesBoston University
  • Jeffrey M. Hausdorff
    • Harvard Medical SchoolGZ-435 Beth Israel Hospital
  • Shlomo Havlin
    • Center for Polymer StudiesBoston University
    • Bar-Ilan University
  • Joseph E. Mietus
    • Harvard Medical SchoolGZ-435 Beth Israel Hospital
  • Michael Simons
    • Harvard Medical SchoolGZ-435 Beth Israel Hospital
    • MIT
  • H. Eugene Stanley
    • Center for Polymer StudiesBoston University
  • Ary L. Goldberger
    • Harvard Medical SchoolGZ-435 Beth Israel Hospital
Papers Data Types And Results

DOI: 10.1007/BF02691332

Cite this article as:
Peng, C., Buldyrev, S.V., Hausdorff, J.M. et al. Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science (1994) 29: 283. doi:10.1007/BF02691332

Abstract

Healthy systems in physiology and medicine are remarkable for their structural variability and dynamical complexity. The concept of fractal growth and form offers novel approaches to understanding morphogenesis and function from the level of the gene to the organism. For example, scale-invariance and long-range power-law correlations are features of non-coding DNA sequences as well as of healthy heartbeat dynamics. For cardiac regulation, perturbation of the control mechanisms by disease or aging may lead to a breakdown of these long-range correlations that normally extend over thousands of heartbeats. Quantification of such long-range scaling alterations are providing new approaches to problems ranging from molecular evolution to monitoring patients at high risk of sudden death.

We briefly review recent work from our laboratory concerning the application of fractals to two apparently unrelated problems: DNA organization and beat-to-beat heart rate variability. We show how the measurement of long-range power-law correlations may provide new understanding of nucleotide organization as well as of the complex fluctuations of the heartbeat under normal and pathologic conditions.

Copyright information

© Springer 1994