Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists' Manipulation Of Chemical Waves Holds Promise For Medical Research

Date:
June 20, 2002
Source:
West Virginia University
Summary:
West Virginia University scientists have manipulated chemical waves in experiments that may one day lead to controlling abnormal electrical waves in the heart or brain to ward off a heart attack or epileptic seizure.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University scientists have manipulated chemical waves in experiments that may one day lead to controlling abnormal electrical waves in the heart or brain to ward off a heart attack or epileptic seizure.

The researchers, led by chemistry Professor Ken Showalter, will report in the cover story of the Friday (June 14) issue of Science that they have controlled the movements of photosensitive chemical waves with light from a computer-controlled video projector.

"We've learned we can control the motion of these waves through methods of control theory," said Dr. Showalter, who co-authored the article with post-doctoral associates Eugene Mihaliuk and Tatsunari Sakurai and Florina Chirila, a physics graduate student.

The article, "Design and Control of Patterns of Wave Propagation in Excitable Media,"is also available on the Science Web site at www.sciencexpress.org. Science is a journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The experiments in Showalter's chemistry lab involved monitoring and controlling chemical waves on a photosensitive Belousov-Zhabotinsky medium, a widely used chemical reaction for studying wave behavior. The researchers captured images of the waves with a video camera, then altered the direction the waves travel with light from the video projector in real time. They were able to produce various wave patterns using this method, from a simple circular pattern to complex shapes resembling roads on a map.

Although the team's work is basic research, Showalter is optimistic the findings could one day be of use in the medical field.

"There are what we call propagating waves throughout all living systems," he said. "These biological wave systems are difficult to study, so we study chemical model systems instead. What we learn from simple chemical systems we can then apply to understanding more complicated biological systems."

One such complicated biological wave system is in the heart, Showalter said. A disruption in the heart wave motion causes the formation of spiral waves. Medical researchers believe spiral waves lead to tachycardia, or rapid heart beat, often a precursor to a heart attack.

Waves also travel through brain tissue, he added. Electrical wave behavior on the surface of the brain is complex and without apparent order. In people with epilepsy, a region of the brain sends out waves in a rhythmic pattern that leads to a seizure.

Showalter said the researchers' work holds particular promise for people with heart disease or epilepsy. For example, medical researchers might develop miniature computers that, when implanted in the chest or brain, could deliver a small shock at the sign of any irregular wave activity, preventing the onset of a heart attack or seizure.

Currently there are pacemakers or implanted defibrillators to shock an irregular heartbeat back into normal rhythm, but the jolt is so strong that it is very difficult for patients, Showalter said. No such therapy exists for people with epilepsy, he added.

Showalter, whose work is supported by the National Science Foundation and others, has been studying propagating chemical waves for several years and has written numerous scientific papers on his research. This is the third article he has authored for Science, and he has also written four articles that have appeared in the British journal Nature.

He joined the chemistry faculty in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1978. He has held the C. Eugene Bennett Chair in Chemistry since 1996, and before that he was the Eberly Family Professor of Chemistry. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Colorado. He is spending the summer in Berlin, Germany, for professional development studies made possible by an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Senior Scientist Award he won in 1999.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by West Virginia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

West Virginia University. "Scientists' Manipulation Of Chemical Waves Holds Promise For Medical Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020620075848.htm>.
West Virginia University. (2002, June 20). Scientists' Manipulation Of Chemical Waves Holds Promise For Medical Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020620075848.htm
West Virginia University. "Scientists' Manipulation Of Chemical Waves Holds Promise For Medical Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020620075848.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins