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Entropy 2014, 16(8), 4497-4520; doi:10.3390/e16084497
Article

Fractal Structure and Entropy Production within the Central Nervous System

1,2,* , 1
 and
1
1 Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 501 Smyth Road Box 708, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L6, Canada 2 Divisions of Thoracic Surgery & Critical Care Medicine, University of Ottawa, 501 Smyth Road, Box 708, Ottawa Hospital-General Campus, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L6, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 May 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy in Human Brain Networks)
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Abstract

Our goal is to explore the relationship between two traditionally unrelated concepts, fractal structure and entropy production, evaluating both within the central nervous system (CNS). Fractals are temporal or spatial structures with self-similarity across scales of measurement; whereas entropy production represents the necessary exportation of entropy to our environment that comes with metabolism and life. Fractals may be measured by their fractal dimension; and human entropy production may be estimated by oxygen and glucose metabolism. In this paper, we observe fractal structures ubiquitously present in the CNS, and explore a hypothetical and unexplored link between fractal structure and entropy production, as measured by oxygen and glucose metabolism. Rapid increase in both fractal structures and metabolism occur with childhood and adolescent growth, followed by slow decrease during aging. Concomitant increases and decreases in fractal structure and metabolism occur with cancer vs. Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, respectively. In addition to fractals being related to entropy production, we hypothesize that the emergence of fractal structures spontaneously occurs because a fractal is more efficient at dissipating energy gradients, thus maximizing entropy production. Experimental evaluation and further understanding of limitations and necessary conditions are indicated to address broad scientific and clinical implications of this work.
Keywords: fractals; entropy production; CNS structure and function; complex systems fractals; entropy production; CNS structure and function; complex systems
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Seely, A.J.E.; Newman, K.D.; Herry, C.L. Fractal Structure and Entropy Production within the Central Nervous System. Entropy 2014, 16, 4497-4520.

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