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A novel approach to the analysis of human growth

Antonio S Gliozzi1*, Caterina Guiot2, Pier Paolo Delsanto1 and Dan A Iordache3

Author Affiliations

1 CNISM, Politecnico of Torino, Physics Department, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129, Torino, Italy

2 Department of Neuroscience, Università di Torino, Corso Raffaello, Torino, Italy

3 Physics Department, University “Politehnica” of Bucharest, Splaiul Independentei 313, Bucharest, Romania

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Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 2012, 9:17  doi:10.1186/1742-4682-9-17

Published: 17 May 2012



Several formulations have been proposed in order to model human growth from birth to maturity. They are usually based on “ad hoc” heuristic assumptions. In the present contribution we adopt, as an alternative, a completely general (interdisciplinary) approach, based on the formalism of the Phenomenological Universalities (PUN).


The main PUN class investigated to date, i.e. UN, can only account for the overall growth pattern. For a realistic description it is necessary to add to it one or more “spurts”, as expected on biological grounds, due to the stimulation of growth and sex hormones.


A new PUN class (UN + FM) is generated and shown to be able to provide excellent agreement with standard auxological datasets. The accuracy of the fitting and reliability of the model suggest applications both at the diagnostic and therapeutic level.


The developed formalism can be suitably related to the biological description of bone plate growth under selective hormonal stimulation on the bone epiphysis; i.e., the additional increase of stature is the “macroscopic” response to a well defined biological signal.