Medical Dictionary

Medical Dictionary

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space constant

Parameters may decline exponentially with distance, as well as with time. For example, if you give a weak stimulus to a long thin cell electrically at one place, then the resulting change of voltage across the membrane falls off exponentially as you go further away (in either direction). The space constant is the normal way to measure the degree of spread: the distance for the change to fall to 36.8%, exactly equivalent in other respects to a time constant.

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