Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 19, Iss. 4, October, 2015, pp. 437-464
@2015 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Differential Diagnosis: Shape and Function, Fractal Tools in the Pathology Lab

Giorgio Bianciardi, University of Siena, Italy

Abstract: Fractal analysis is a useful objective tool in describing complexity of shapes and signals providing information for understanding pathological changes. We present fractal approaches and software used in our pathology laboratory to analyze shapes of tumors in tissues and cells, to evaluate the microvessel network complexity in hereditary diseases or the complexity of the surface of blood cells in atherosclerosis-linked condition, as well to analyze function in vasculopathic subjects by chaotic analysis of electrocardiographic signals, in order to perform differential diagnosis. The fractal parameters appear to converge towards distinct values in pathological conditions compared to healthy, approaching the characteristics values of a percolation process or the diffusion-limited aggregation process, respectively: a bifurcation that allows to support the diagnostic process of the pathologist in his daily work. These methods, presented here as a kind of a cookbook ready for the pathologist, are low cost and not time consuming.

Keywords: human pathology, differential diagnosis, cancer, atherosclerosis, fractal analysis