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SAGE KE Bulletin Board

Asking for advice: Theory of Aging and Longevity

29 July 2003

Leonid A Gavrilov

Dear Colleagues, We would greatly appreciate your comments and feedback on the recent article published by Science's SAGE KE: "The Quest for a General Theory of Aging and Longevity" Science's SAGE KE for 16 July 2003; Vol. 2003, No. 28, 1-10 http://sageke.sciencemag.org/literature/overviews/reviews/ and http://sageke.sciencemag.org/content/vol2003/issue28/index.shtml The ideas and findings of this article were initially presented at the National Institutes of Health Conference "The Dynamic and Energetic Bases of Health and Aging" (NIH, Bethesda, [http://www.biodynamichealthaging.org/ ]) and were recommended for publication by conference organizers after review and discussion of our work. The article had also passed three independent reviews made by anonymous referees at Science's SAGE KE. Still, we would be interested in additional comments and suggestions in order to move further with this reliability approach to aging problem. Thank you very much in advance ! Kind regards, -- Leonid Gavrilov and Natalia Gavrilova Authors of the book "The Biology of Life Span" http://www.src.uchicago.edu/~gavr1/index.html#Book P.S: Medline abstract of this new publication is attached below for your information: ===============Entrez PubMed Results================= Sci Aging Knowl Environ. 2003 Jul 16;2003(28): The quest for a general theory of aging and longevity. Gavrilov LA, Gavrilova NS. Center on Aging, National Opinion Research Center/University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. lagavril@midway.uchicago.edu Extensive studies of phenomena related to aging have produced many diverse findings, which require a general theoretical framework to be organized into a comprehensive body of knowledge. As demonstrated by the success of evolutionary theories of aging, quite general theoretical considerations can be very useful when applied to research on aging. In this theoretical study, we attempt to gain insight into aging by applying a general theory of systems failure known as reliability theory. Considerations of this theory lead to the following conclusions: (i) Redundancy is a concept of crucial importance for understanding aging, particularly the systemic nature of aging. Systems that are redundant in numbers of irreplaceable elements deteriorate (that is, age) over time, even if they are built of elements that do not themselves age. (ii) An apparent aging rate or expression of aging is higher for systems that have higher levels of redundancy. (iii) Redundancy exhaustion over the life course explains a number of observations about mortality, including mortality convergence at later life (when death rates are becoming relatively similar at advanced ages for different populations of the same species) as well as late-life mortality deceleration, leveling off, and mortality plateaus. (iv) Living organisms apparently contain a high load of initial damage from the early stages of development, and therefore their life span and aging patterns may be sensitive to early-life conditions that determine this initial damage load. Thus, the reliability theory provides a parsimonious explanation for many important aging-related phenomena and suggests a number of interesting testable predictions. We therefore suggest adding the reliability theory to the arsenal of methodological approaches applied to research on aging. PMID: 12867663 [PubMed - in process] weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12867663&dopt=Abstract =================================

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Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150