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October 1972

Tracer Probes in Steady State Systems.

Author Affiliations

USA San Antonio

Arch Intern Med. 1972;130(4):655-656. doi:10.1001/archinte.1972.03650040179031

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A stream of applied mathematics has contributed markedly to the evolution of biochemistry and physiology. Gibbs and Donnan, Henderson and Hasselbalch, Stewart and Hamilton, Michaelis and Menten—names familiar to every first-year medical student—have shaped our understanding of physiological processes by explaining cellular processes on a mathematical basis. The use of tracer isotopes during the past 30 years has widened the mathematical stream into a vast river; the concepts of compartments, pools, and spaces are almost entirely derived from mathematical treatment of biological systems.

Steele has made a significant contribution to the state of the art of bio-mathematics in that he has reduced to arithmetical terms the current status of tracer isotope methodology in a remarkably readable manner. Indeed, his book can be considered as almost a compendium of current knowledge in this field. From a simple model of a steady state pool, the concept of the complex parallel equivalent pools

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