Calcium Waves in Pregnant Uterine Contractions
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Uterine contractions during childbirth stem from cellular processes. This complex process occurs when pacemaker cells generate action potentials that trigger intercellular calcium waves which result in contraction of the myometrium. As clinicians continue to learn about the regulation of myometrial contractions, some mathematical models have been used to further insight. One type of model used here is a cellular automaton. Cellular automata describe larger system behaviors through prescribed local interaction "rules". An advantage of using cellular automata models is that interactions can be easily formulated. Additionally, they often allow the process to be visualized. I describe cellular automata in some detail and provide examples of local interactions that lead to interesting system behavior. I also discuss how such model's can be applied to investigate Young's Action Potential--Calcium Wave Hypothesis.