## Where Medicine Went Wrong: Rediscovering the Path to ComplexityWhere Medicine Went Wrong explores how the idea of an average value has been misapplied to medical phenomena, distorted understanding and lead to flawed medical decisions. Through new insights into the science of complexity, traditional physiology is replaced with fractal physiology, in which variability is more indicative of health than is an average. The capricious nature of physiological systems is made conceptually manageable by smoothing over fluctuations and thinking in terms of averages. But these variations in such aspects as heart rate, breathing and walking are much more susceptible to the early influence of disease than are averages.It may be useful to quote from the late Stephen Jay Gould's book Full House on the errant nature of averages: ?? our culture encodes a strong bias either to neglect or ignore variation. We tend to focus instead on measures of central tendency, and as a result we make some terrible mistakes, often with considerable practical import.? Dr West has quantified this observation and make it useful for the diagnosis of disease. |

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### Contents

1 Chance and Variation | 1 |

2 The Expectation of Health | 37 |

3 Even Uncertainty has Laws | 69 |

4 The Uncertainty of Health | 119 |

5 Fractal Physiology | 173 |

6 Complexity | 241 |

7 Disease as Loss of Complexity | 283 |

Epilogue | 315 |

317 | |

327 | |

### Other editions - View all

Where Medicine Went Wrong: Rediscovering the Path to Complexity Bruce J. West No preview available - 2006 |

### Common terms and phrases

aggregation allometric control attractor average value behavior bell-shaped curve biological body temperature cardiac cardiac pacemaker cells central limit theorem century chaos clusters coin toss complex phenomena Consequently correlation data points determined discussion disease example fluctuations fractal dimension function gait Gauss Gaussian given graph head healthy heart rate heartbeat homeostasis homeostatic homeostatic control HRV time series human increase indicates individual interactions inverse power law inverse power-law distribution large number law of errors Lévy Lévy distribution Lévy flight linear logarithm lung mathematical measure mechanism medicine motion multifractal neurons nodes noise nonlinear dynamical normal observed outcome parameter Pareto phase space phenomenon physical power-law predicted probability properties random network random walk scale-free networks scaling index scientists sequence shown in Fig slope spectrum standard deviation statistical stride interval structure tail theory tidal volume tion total number trajectory uncorrelated random variance