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Multifractality in Human Heartbeat Dynamics

DOI: 10.1038/20924

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Abstract:

Recent evidence suggests that physiological signals under healthy conditions may have a fractal temporal structure. We investigate the possibility that time series generated by certain physiological control systems may be members of a special class of complex processes, termed multifractal, which require a large number of exponents to characterize their scaling properties. We report on evidence for multifractality in a biological dynamical system --- the healthy human heartbeat. Further, we show that the multifractal character and nonlinear properties of the healthy heart rate are encoded in the Fourier phases. We uncover a loss of multifractality for a life-threatening condition, congestive heart failure.

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