Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014, Article ID 859341, 15 pages
Review Article

Inductive and Deductive Approaches to Acute Cell Injury

1Department of Physiology, Wayne State University, 4116 Scott Hall, 540 East Canfield Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
2Department of Physics and Astronomy, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA

Received 5 March 2014; Accepted 25 June 2014; Published 12 October 2014

Academic Editor: Yun Wang

Copyright © 2014 Donald J. DeGracia et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many clinically relevant forms of acute injury, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and myocardial infarction, have resisted treatments to prevent cell death following injury. The clinical failures can be linked to the currently used inductive models based on biological specifics of the injury system. Here we contrast the application of inductive and deductive models of acute cell injury. Using brain ischemia as a case study, we discuss limitations in inductive inferences, including the inability to unambiguously assign cell death causality and the lack of a systematic quantitative framework. These limitations follow from an overemphasis on qualitative molecular pathways specific to the injured system. Our recently developed nonlinear dynamical theory of cell injury provides a generic, systematic approach to cell injury in which attractor states and system parameters are used to quantitatively characterize acute injury systems. The theoretical, empirical, and therapeutic implications of shifting to a deductive framework are discussed. We illustrate how a deductive mathematical framework offers tangible advantages over qualitative inductive models for the development of therapeutics of acutely injured biological systems.