Over 200 mathematical formulae exist that model some aspect of human growth and development. While many of these quantitative functions describe the growth process with great precision, none explains how growth is regulated. Building on Earlier attempts to develop a conceptual model of growth regulation, this paper presents a qualitative model of growth based on catastrophe theory. This is a relatively new branch of mathematics that investigates the way things change. The catastrophe model describes the normal range of variation for preadolescent and adolescent growth and suggests a novel explanation for the change in growth rate that takes place during puberty. Catastrophe theory is also used to model select ontogenetic changes in neuroendocrine development that are believed to be related to the growth process. Areas of overlap between the catastrophe model for growth and the catastrophe model for neuroendocrine ontogeny suggest how growth may be regulated and help define testable research questions.
"Catastrophe Theory Model for the Regulation of Human Growth,"
2, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol52/iss2/7