Courses on Aging and Longevity
Alexander Y. Andreyev
aandreye at UMABNET.AB.UMD.EDU
Mon Feb 10 12:48:38 EST 1997
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.
Drs.Leonid and Natalia Gavrilov, Ph.D.
BIODEMOGRAPHY OF AGING AND LONGEVITY (University courses)
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
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
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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