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Chaos in the heart

he phenomenon of sudden cardiac death.

Investigations by A.S. Mikhailov (Fritz Haber Institute) together with S. Alonso and F. Sagues (University of Barcelona) have now shown that the Winfree chaos of scroll waves is typical and can be observed in general models of excitable media. The figure gives an example of such a chaotic wave pattern.

Two years ago, Mikhailov and his colleagues at the Fritz Haber Institute succeeded in observing and controlling chaotic patterns in a chemical reaction [1]. In his new publication in Science, the scientists show that chaos of scroll waves can generally be controlled - suppressed or induced - by weak periodic modulation of parameters determining excitation threshold of a medium. This discovery, which was discovered for abstract mathematical models, could in the future lead to new methods for suppressing cardiac fibrillation.


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Contact: Prof. Dr. Alexander S. Mikhailov
mikhailov@fhi-berlin.mpg.de
49-308-413-5122
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
31-Jan-2003


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