Nonlinear dynamics, chaos-theory, and the "sciences of complexity": Their relevance to the study of the interaction between host and microflora

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Abstract

Theoretical and experimental studies of various biomedical systems, including heart, brain, immune system, and many ecosystems, have shown that many of these systems may be described in terms of nonlinear dynamics. Two important consequences of this non-linear dynamical behaviour are irreversibility and unpredictability, due to the chaotic behaviour this type of system may exhibit. Another trend in modern science (often named "the sciences of complexity") deals with the often complex or chaotic collective behaviour of systems made up of large numbers of relatively simple entities. Very often such systems exhibit non-linear dynamical behaviour. Many such complex and nonlinear systems have been studied successfully using computer simulation techniques.

It is proposed that, as has been demonstrated for the immune system, the intestinal microbial ecosystem may he viewed as such a complex system governed by non-linear dynamical equations. A discussion of techniques available for the study of such systems is given, with a special emphasis on computer simulation. Finally, the results of a pilot study using computer simulation of the interaction between the anaerobic and aerobic compartments of the microflora within a simple geometric model of the small and large intestine are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Antimicrobial Strategies
EditorsPJ Heidt, Rusch, D VanderWaaij
Place of PublicationHERBORN-DILL
PublisherINST MICROECOLOGY & BIOCHEM
Pages111-130
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)3-923022-20-4
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Event10th Old-Herborn-University Seminar on New Antimicrobial Strategies - , Germany
Duration: 3-Jun-1996 → …

Publication series

NameOLD HERBORN UNIVERSITY SEMINAR MONOGRAPH
PublisherINST MICROECOLOGY & BIOCHEM
Volume10

Other

Other10th Old-Herborn-University Seminar on New Antimicrobial Strategies
CountryGermany
Period03/06/1996 → …

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