Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | December 5, 2010

Inevitability of Mathematics

The following text, the abstract of the paper A mathematical model for the determination of total area under glucose tolerance and other metabolic curves. M.M. Tai. Diabetes Care, Vol 17, Issue 2 152-154, should be treated with due respect: it shows that mathematics is needed in the world to the degree tha a medical researcher re-invents integration and gets 75 quotations — mostly form other medical researchers who need it.

OBJECTIVE–To develop a mathematical model for the determination of total areas under curves from various metabolic studies.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS–In Tai’s Model, the total area under a curve is computed by dividing the area under the curve between two designated values on the X-axis (abscissas) into small segments (rectangles and triangles) whose areas can be accurately calculated from their respective geometrical formulas. The total sum of these individual areas thus represents the total area under the curve. Validity of the model is established by comparing total areas obtained from this model to these same areas obtained from graphic method (less than +/- 0.4%). Other formulas widely applied by researchers under- or overestimated total area under a metabolic curve by a great margin.

RESULTS–Tai’s model proves to be able to 1) determine total area under a curve with precision; 2) calculate area with varied shapes that may or may not intercept on one or both X/Y axes; 3) estimate total area under a curve plotted against varied time intervals (abscissas), whereas other formulas only allow the same time interval; and 4) compare total areas of metabolic curves produced by different studies.

CONCLUSIONS–The Tai model allows flexibility in experimental conditions, which means, in the case of the glucose-response curve, samples can be taken with differing time intervals and total area under the curve can still be determined with precision.

A useful discussion can be found at American Physics Students in England.

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