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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Jan 21;94(2):028105. Epub 2005 Jan 20.

Global organization of dynamics in oscillatory heterogeneous excitable media.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11203, USA.


An oscillatory heterogeneous excitable medium undergoes a transition from periodic target patterns to a bursting rhythm driven by the spontaneous initiation and termination of spiral waves as coupling or density is reduced. We illustrate these phenomena in monolayers of chick embryonic heart cells using calcium-sensitive fluorescent dyes. These results are modeled in a heterogeneous cellular automaton in which the neighborhood of interaction and cell density is modified. Parameters that give rise to bursting rhythms are organized in distinct zones in parameter space, leading to a global organization that should be applicable to the dynamics in a large class of excitable media.

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