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Some Medical Aspects of Mathematical Biology

Anthony F. Bartholomay, SD
JAMA. 1964;188(10):941. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060360101037.
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The senior in the relatively new discipline of mathematical biology has made a highly laudable attempt to communicate to the medical profession the spirit, general modus operandi, and a few medically meaningful results of that discipline. In his own words: "the emphasis... is definitely on the word some. The book is not intended to be a comprehensive treatise on all possible medical aspects of mathematical biology." Rather it discusses selected topics of medical interest—respiratory, cardiovascular, pharmacological, endocrine, and neurophysiological and psychological.

In the first part Dr. Rashevsky shows how, starting with a simple geometric model of the respiratory system, we may derive mathematical formulas to predict the concentration of inspired particles in various parts of the system. In the cardiovascular discussion he brings together two distinct theories: (1) O. Frank's elastic reservoir model of the circulatory system and (2) the theory of propagation of pulse waves, from which he derives


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