The Tongue as an Excitable Medium
November 5, 2014 - 10:00am
This is a Webinar
Geographic tongue (GT) is a medical condition affecting approximately 2% of the population, whereby the papillae covering the upper part of the tongue are lost due to a slowly expanding inflammation. The resultant dynamical appearance of the tongue has striking similarities with well known out-of-equilibrium phenomena observed in excitable media, such as forest fires, cardiac dynamics and chemically driven reaction-diffusion systems. We explore the dynamics associated with GT from a dynamical systems perspective, utilizing cellular automata simulations. Our results shed light on the evolution of the inflammation and suggest a practical way to classify the severity of the condition, based on the characteristic patterns observed in GT patients.