Studying the geometry of a common skin disease

phys.org | 10/9/2019 | Staff
smilingbearsmilingbear (Posted by) Level 4
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In a recent study from Hiroshima University, researchers turned to mathematics to predict hive patterns in humans.

Hives afflict one in five people, but the exact mechanisms behind the itchy red rashes are not well known.

Research - Team - Patterns - Hives - Patients

The research team studied the patterns of hives in patients and reproduced the hive patterns using a mathematical model called a reaction-diffusion model, a common prototype for understanding how patterns develop. The researchers' model is a single equation type which had never before been used to generate complex patterns.

In response to injury, allergens, or stress, hives can form when cells called mast cells in the skin release a compound called histamine. The red swollen mark (also known as wheals) can range from a few millimeters to the size of a hand or even larger.

Research - Histamine - Cells - Release - Histamine

While research has shown that histamine itself helps mast cells release histamine, this study considers for the first time that certain mechanisms might also inhibit histamine release and that there may be more going on behind the disease than previously thought.

"Our model succeeded in creating complex pattern of urticaria (hives), which is a very surprising result from both mathematical and biological points...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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