Fractals in Nerve and Muscle

  • James B. Bassingthwaighte
  • Larry S. Liebovitch
  • Bruce J. West
Part of the Methods in Physiology Series book series (METHPHYS)


Mechanical vibrations, chemical concentrations, and action potentials are all forms of information that can be transmitted from one point in space to another by means of various mechanisms. We are familiar with the sound waves that enable us to hear the distant roll of thunder and light waves that enable us to see the lightning flash, but we are less familiar with the waves found in excitable media that enable us to transform these sensory inputs into messages usable by the brain. In practice, these latter waves result from the rhythmic timing of spatially distributed pacemakers such as found in the heart, intestine, kidney, uterus, and stomach. These pacemaker cells are nonlinear biological oscillators that are capable of spontaneous excitation, which can also be entrained by external excitation.


Fractal Dimension Window Length Firing Pattern Excitable Medium Fano Factor 
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Copyright information

© American Physiological Society 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • James B. Bassingthwaighte
    • 1
  • Larry S. Liebovitch
    • 2
  • Bruce J. West
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for BioengineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Complex SystemsFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  3. 3.Physics DepartmentUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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