Courses on Aging and Longevity

Alexander Y. Andreyev aandreye at UMABNET.AB.UMD.EDU
Mon Feb 10 12:48:38 EST 1997

Dear Colleagues,

   Please find attached below the brief description of our 
University courses on Biodemography of Aging and Longevity for 
your information and comments. 

   These courses are based on our book "The Biology of Life Span",
on our seminars at Moscow State University, on our seminars we 
had recently in different parts of the United States: 

  1.University of Georgia, Athens, GA (Professor Poon).
  2.University of Iowa, Ames, IA (Dr.Peter Martin).
  3.University of Chicago (Dr.Brian Charlesworth and Dr.Jay Olshansky).
  4.University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (Professor James Crow).
  5.University of Washington, Seattle (Dr.Walter Kukull).
Additional recommendations could be obtained from Professor Robert Arking 
(Wayne State University), Professor Caleb Finch (UCLA) and from famous
American demographer, Professor Nathan Keyfitz (now in Boston).

If you are interested in the courses described below, please let us 
know by E-mail address mentioned above.

   Sincerely yours,   

   Drs.Leonid and Natalia Gavrilov, Ph.D.



1. Introduction
   1.1. Why it is necessary to study life span.
        Fundamental importance and practical applications 
        of aging and longevity studies.
   1.2. Short history of the subject. 
        Contributions of Christian Huygens, Gottfried Leibniz, 
        Edmund Halley, Leonard Euler, Pierre Laplace, Karl Pearson,
        Benjamin Gompertz, William Makeham, Adolphe Quetelet and 
        Raymond Pearl.
   1.3. Present state of aging and longevity studies.
        Current status of life span studies in gerontology,
        demography, ecology, genetics, radiobiology, 
        toxicology, oncology and zoology.

2. Individual Differences in Lifetime and Mortality Laws.
   (Different Biological Species).
  2.1. Methods of life span studies. Life table and its functions.
       High variability of life span distribution.
  2.2. Statistical methods of survival analysis. 
       Survival Function and its Confidence Limits. Censoring. 
       Planning of the Survival Studies. 
  2.3. Comparison of the Survival Curves. Statistical Tests.
       Mantel-Haenszel (Log-rank) test, Gehan-Breslow test 
       and Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Comparative analysis 
       of different statistical tests.
  2.4. In Search of the Mortality Law. Gompertz Law of Mortality.
       The problem of choosing the "correct" index of mortality.
       Analitical functions (laws) describing life span 
       distribution. Methodological principles for selecting 
       life span distribution law. Age-dependent and age-
       independent components of mortality.
  2.5. Specific Behaviour of Mortality at Advanced Ages. 
       Levelling-off of mortality rates at advanced ages: 
       experimental evidence and possible explanations.

3. The Human Life Span.
   3.1. Specific Questions Connected With Research Into the Human 
        Life Span. Cohort versus cross-sectional approach.
        Historical Changes of Life Span in Developed 
   3.2. Demographic Life Table and Methods of its Construction. 
        Current versus cohort life tables. Problem of estimation 
        of life expectancy at advanced ages.
   3.3. Mortality Indices Used in Demographic Studies. 
        Standardized mortality rates, potential years of 
        lofe lost, crude mortality rate.
   3.4. Causes of Death and Methods of their Studying in Demography.
        Multiple-decrement and single-decrement life tables and 
        indices derived from these tables. The problem of the 
        diversity of causes of death and their interaction.
   3.5. Regularities of Human Mortality. Mortality Laws 
        Proposed for Description of Human Mortality. 
        Biological and social characteristics of human life span.
        The historical stability of age-dependent component of 
        human mortality.
   3..6. The Epidemiological Approach to Studying the Biology 
        of the Human Life Span. Brief Review of Main Factors 
        that Have Influence on Human Life Span (Behavioral, Social, 
        Environmental, Nutritional, Physiological, etc.). 
   3.7. Prospects for Human Life Span Extension. Population Aging 
        and Its Causes. Different Approaches to Forecasting the Expected 
        Number of Elderly people in United States. 

4. Species-Specific Life Span and Centenarian Studies. 
   4.1. Review of Ideas about Species-Specific Life Span. Is there 
        a Species-Specific Life Span Limit? Levelling-off of 
        mortality rates at advanced ages.
   4.2. The Strehler-Mildvan Correlation. Mortality Crossover Effect 
        and Compensation Effect of Mortality. The Concept of Species-
        Specific Life Span Invariants.
   4.3. Centenarian Studies and their Importance for Understanding 
        the Mechanisms of Human Aging. Construction of life tables 
        for advanced ages. Method of extinct generations.
   4.4. Genealogical Studies of Familial Longevity. Mechanisms of 
        Longevity Inheritance in Human Populations. Increased 
        heritability of human longevity at advanced ages.

5. Possible Mechanisms Which Determine Life Span. 
   5.1. Brief Review of Existing Theories of Aging. 
        Aging: a self-destruction program or wear and tear?
   5.2. Evolutionary Approach to Aging Studies. 
        Mutation accumulation theory of aging. 
        Disposable soma theory of aging.
   5.3. Analysis of Sex Differences in Lifetimes. 
        Do females live longer than males? 
        Sexually concordant and sexually inconcordant causes 
        of death in humans.
   5.4. Studies of Genes that Increase Longevity in Lower Organisms.
        Experimental data on nematodes, drosophila and yeast.
   5.5. Experiments in Life Extension. 
        Caloric restriction, hypothermia, antioxidants. 
        "Signal-to-noise" ratio hypothesis.
   5.6. The Limit of Cell Division. Its Relation to Aging of the 
        Organism. Cell differentiation versus cell death.
   5.7. Reliability Theory and Its Application to the Aging Studies.
        The concept of failure. Definition of aging in reliability 
        theory. Basic parameters of reliability - stability, 
        accuracy, speed of operations, loading characteristic. 
        Comparison of biological and technical systems.
   5.8. Mathematical Models of Life Span. Brief Review of Different 
        Concepts. Mathematical Models of Aging Based on the 
        Reliability Theory. Limiting distributions of the life 
        spans of biological systems. The model of the avalanche-like 
        destruction of an organism in natural aging. The model 
        a multiply redundant system saturated with defects. The 
        model of a redundant system with an arbitrary number of 
        defects. The heterogeneous population model. The model 
        of accumulation of defects with constant intensity of 
        the flow damage. 

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