RELIABILITY THEORY OF AGING AND LONGEVITY

Leonid Gavrilov lagavril at midway.uchicago.edu
Sat Jan 12 14:38:04 EST 2002


Dear Colleagues,

I would like to share with you the abstract of our recent article published 
by the Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2001, 213(4): 527-545.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome!

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THE  RELIABILITY  THEORY  OF  AGING  AND  LONGEVITY

Reliability theory is a general theory about systems failure.  It allows 
researchers to predict the age-related failure kinetics for a system of 
given architecture (reliability structure) and given reliability of its 
components.

Reliability theory predicts that even those systems that are entirely 
composed of non-aging elements (with a constant failure rate) will 
nevertheless deteriorate (fail more often) with age, if these systems 
are  REDUNDANT  in irreplaceable elements.  Aging, therefore, is a direct 
consequence of systems redundancy.

Reliability theory also predicts the late-life mortality deceleration with 
subsequent leveling-off, as well as the late-life mortality plateaus, as an 
inevitable consequence of  REDUNDANCY  EXHAUSTION  at extreme old ages.

The theory explains why mortality rates increase exponentially with age 
(the Gompertz law) in many species, by taking into account 
the  INITIAL  FLAWS  (DEFECTS)  in newly formed systems. It also explains 
why organisms "prefer" to die according to the Gompertz law, while 
technical devices usually fail according to the Weibull (power) 
law.  Theoretical conditions are specified when organisms die according to 
the Weibull law: organisms should be relatively free of initial flaws and 
defects.

The theory makes it possible to find a general failure law applicable to 
all adult and extreme old ages, where the Gompertz and the Weibull laws are 
just special cases of this more general failure law.

The theory explains why relative differences in mortality rates of compared 
populations (within a given species) vanish with age, and mortality 
convergence is observed due to the exhaustion of initial differences in 
redundancy levels.

Overall, reliability theory has an amazing predictive and explanatory power 
with a few, very general and realistic assumptions. Therefore, reliability 
theory seems to be a promising approach for developing a comprehensive 
theory of aging and longevity integrating mathematical methods with 
specific biological knowledge.

Leonid A. Gavrilov and Natalia S. Gavrilova
Center on Aging, NORC/University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th Street, 
Chicago, IL, 60637, U.S.A.

THE RELIABILITY THEORY OF AGING AND LONGEVITY.
Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2001, 213(4): 527-545.
Full text of this article is available at:
http://www.idealibrary.com/links/doi/10.1006/jtbi.2001.2430/pdf
********************** THE END *************************

______________________________________
Dr. Leonid A. Gavrilov, Center on Aging
NORC/University of Chicago
1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-2745
USA
Fax: (773) 256-6313, Phone: (773) 256-6359
FOR MORE INFO PLEASE VISIT OUR SCIENTIFIC WEBSITE :
http://www.src.uchicago.edu/~gavr1/


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