Can chaos theory help predict heart attacks?

July 21, 2010

Chaos models may someday help model cardiac arrhythmias -- abnormal electrical rhythms of the heart, say researchers in the journal CHAOS, which is published by the American Institute of Physics.

In recent years, medical research has drawn more attention to chaos in cardiac dynamics. Although chaos marks the disorder of a dynamical system, locating the origin of chaos and watching it develop might allow researchers to predict, and maybe even counteract, certain outcomes.

An important example is the chaotic behavior of , a severely that is often life-threatening. One study found chaos in two and three dimensions in the breakup of spiral and scroll waves, thought to be precursors of cardiac fibrillation. Another study found that one type of heartbeat irregularity, a sudden response of the heart to rapid beating called "spatially discordant alternans," leads to chaotic behavior and thus is a possible predictor of a fatal .

Mathematicians Shu Dai at Ohio State University and David Schaeffer at Duke University have built on this work to find another chaotic solution to an equation for alternans along a one-dimensional fiber of with stimuli applied at one end. Assigning extreme parameter values to the model, the team was able to find chaotic behavior in space over time. The resulting chaos may have a unique origin, which has not yet been identified.

Explore further: Meaning from chaos

More information: The article, "Chaos for cardiac arrhythmias through a one-dimensional modulation equation for alternans" by Shu Dai and David G. Schaeffer was published online in the journal CHAOS on June 30, 2010. See:

Related Stories

Meaning from chaos

November 21, 2005

Transmitting light-based signals by embedding them in chaos doesn't sound like a particularly good idea. But in last week's issue of Nature, Claudio Mirasso and co-workers show otherwise. They have demonstrated that it is ...

Anger management: The key to staying heart healthy?

February 23, 2009

New research published in the March 3, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that anger-induced electrical changes in the heart can predict future arrhythmias in patients with implantable ...

An angry heart can lead to sudden death, researchers find

February 24, 2009

Before flying off the handle the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, consider the latest research from Yale School of Medicine researchers that links changes brought on by anger or other strong emotions to future arrhythmias ...

The Medical Minute: Putting the freeze on abnormal heart beats

February 25, 2009

( -- In some people, the heart has a tendency to race due to abnormal electrical signals that tell the heart muscle when to contract. Abnormal electrical activation of the heart with changes in the rate or regular ...

Chaotic laser brings out higher precision OTDR

June 3, 2010

Professor Wang Yun Cai and his student Wang An Bang reported a new concept of optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR) based on a chaotic light correlation method. This will be useful for precise fault location in fiber links ...

Recommended for you

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

Exploring the physics of a chocolate fountain

November 24, 2015

A mathematics student has worked out the secrets of how chocolate behaves in a chocolate fountain, answering the age-old question of why the falling 'curtain' of chocolate surprisingly pulls inwards rather than going straight ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.