Telomeric Theory of Aging

CurtAdams curtadams at
Sat Aug 22 00:04:07 EST 1998

"Jennifer Ann Petersen" <jennifer at>

>Yes, the fact that life span remained the same is significant.
>Since the study was to see if death came later, I thought the cause of death
>would somehow be important. It would seem that in a study such as this,
>saying "I dunno, they just up 'n died" ignores an important piece of
>information. Did they all explode? Did they write tiny suicide notes? That
>would give credence to the boredom theory ;-) Did any of them develop

Cause of death is often omitted from rodent studies for two reasons:

1) Only rarely are there enough mice to have any statistical power on
cause of death, even if one cause is twice as likely in one group.

2) Determining the cause of death often requires a fair amount of 
pathology work.  Usually the only obvious fact is that the mouse is
dead.  Did the bug you cultured cause death, or did it just
start growing once the animal was dead? Did the tumor cause death or
was it just there when the animal died?

2) is solvable but in view of 1) often isn't worth it.

I can almost guarantee some developed cancer; it's a major cause of death
in all strains except a few quirky ones which die early in life.

Curt Adams (curtadams at
"It is better to be wrong than to be vague" - Freeman Dyson

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