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  #211  
Old 03-31-2017, 11:42 AM
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https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/...ampaign=buffer

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There's no limit to how long we could extend our lives, say researchers

The Strehler-Mildvan correlation

The scientific team of biotech company Gero recently published a study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology that debunks a long-held misconception regarding two parameters of the Gompertz mortality law — a mortality model that represents human death as the sum of two components that exponentially increases with age. The Gero team studied what’s called the Strehler-Mildvan (SM) correlation and found no real biological reasoning behind it, despite having been held true for more than a half a century now.

The SM correlation, derived from the Strehler-Mildvan general theory of aging and mortality, is a mechanism-based explanation of Gompertz law. Specifically, the SM correlation uses two Gompertz coefficients called the Mortality Rate Doubling Time (MRDT) and Initial Mortality Rate (IMR). Popularized in the 1960s in a paper published in Science, the SM correlation suggests that reducing mortality rate through any intervention at a young age could lower the MRDT, thus accelerating aging. As such, the hypothesis disrupts the development of any anti-aging therapy, effectively making optimal aging treatments impossible.

The Gero team, however, realized that the SM correlation is a flawed assumption. Instead of using machine learning techniques for anti-aging therapy design, the researchers relied on an evidence-based science approach. Peter Fedichev and his team tried to determine the physical processes behind the SM correlation. In doing so, they realized the fundamental discrepancy between analytical considerations and the possibility of SM correlation. “We worked through the entire life histories of thousands of C. elegans that were genetically identical, and the results showed that this correlation was indeed a pure fitting artifact,” Fedichev said in a press release.

Human life extension

Other studies have questioned the validity of the SM correlation, but in their published study, Fedichev and his team were able to show how the SM correlation arises naturally as “a degenerate manifold of Gompertz fit.” This suggests that, instead of understanding SM correlation as a biological fact, it is really an artifactual property of the fit.

This discovery is particularly relevant now as more and more scientists are coming to the conclusion that aging is a disease and, as such, could be treated. They are working hard to find ways to extend human life, and many of these anti-aging studies are yielding curious developments.

“Elimination of SM correlation from theories of aging is good news, because if it was not just negative correlation between Gompertz parameters, but the real dependence, it would have banned optimal anti-aging interventions and limited human possibilities to life extension,” Fedichev explained. In order words, human life extension has no definitive limit.


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...22519317300176

Quote:
Strehler-Mildvan correlation is a degenerate manifold of Gompertz fit

Andrei E. Tarkhova, b, , , Leonid I. Menshikova, c, Peter O. Fedicheva, d
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2017.01.017
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Highlights

Strehler-Mildvan correlation is a degenerate manifold of Gompertz fit, coinciding with a narrow stripe of iso-average lifespan curves.

As far as Gompertz law adequately describes mortality, the linear Strehler-Mildvan correlation is observed only in experiments with a modest change in lifespan and breaks down for dramatic lifespan changes.

Gompertz fit applied to high-dimensional mortality changes might lead to abnormal behavior of Strehler-Mildvan correlation, such as its breakdowns.

The average lifespan is the only stable feature in experiments with low-quality survival curves.

An analytical derivation of the degeneracy manifold of Gompertz fit (i.e. Strehler-Mildvan correlation) is presented.
Abstract
Gompertz empirical law of mortality is often used in practical research to parametrize survival fraction as a function of age with the help of just two quantities: the Initial Mortality Rate (IMR) and the Gompertz exponent, inversely proportional to the Mortality Rate Doubling Time (MRDT). The IMR is often found to be inversely related to the Gompertz exponent, which is the dependence commonly referred to as Strehler-Mildvan (SM) correlation. In this paper, we address fundamental uncertainties of the Gompertz parameters inference from experimental Kaplan-Meier plots and show, that a least squares fit often leads to an ill-defined non-linear optimization problem, which is extremely sensitive to sampling errors and the smallest systematic demographic variations. Therefore, an analysis of consequent repeats of the same experiments in the same biological conditions yields the whole degenerate manifold of possible Gompertz parameters. We find that whenever the average lifespan of species greatly exceeds MRDT, small random variations in the survival records produce large deviations in the identified Gompertz parameters along the line, corresponding to the set of all possible IMR and MRDT values, roughly compatible with the properly determined value of average lifespan in experiment. The best fit parameters in this case turn out to be related by a form of SM correlation. Therefore, we have to conclude that the combined property, such as the average lifespan in the group, rather than IMR and MRDT values separately, may often only be reliably determined via experiments, even in a perfectly homogeneous animal cohort due to its finite size and/or low age-sampling frequency, typical for modern high-throughput settings. We support our findings with careful analysis of experimental survival records obtained in cohorts of C. elegans of different sizes, in control groups and under the influence of experimental therapies or environmental conditions. We argue that since, SM correlation may show up as a consequence of the fitting degeneracy, its appearance is not limited to homogeneous cohorts. In fact, the problem persists even beyond the simple Gompertz mortality law. We show that the same degeneracy occurs exactly in the same way, if a more advanced Gompertz-Makeham aging model is employed to improve the modeling. We explain how SM type of relation between the demographic parameters may still be observed even in extremely large cohorts with immense statistical power, such as in human census datasets, provided that systematic historical changes are weak in nature and lead to a gradual change in the mean lifespan.
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  #212  
Old 04-04-2017, 03:04 PM
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SEX DIFFERENCES

http://aging.nautil.us/feature/189/w...m_medium=email

Quote:
Why Men Don’t Live as Long as Women
It’s the testosterone, don’t you know.

By Richard G. Bribiescas

Years ago when I was conducting my doctoral research on the evolutionary history of men among a remote indigenous community of hunter-gatherers living in the forests of South America, I came across a man donning a well-worn baseball cap likely donated by missionaries. The cap read, “There are three stages to a man’s life: Stud, Dud, Thud.” Indeed. It is somewhat sobering to see one’s life’s research summarized on a piece of headwear that can probably be found for a few dollars at a roadside truck stop. But such is the elegance of interesting science.

It’s no secret that mortality due to accidents and risky behavior is much higher in young men, particularly those in their late teenage years and early 20s. This, by the way, is not news to insurance companies. It’s also true that men die earlier than women, regardless of their environment or lifestyle, and are often more susceptible to some cancers and heart disease at an earlier age. In fact, men are at a higher risk than women when it comes to most of the top 15 contributing sources of mortality in the United States—which account for nearly 80 percent of all deaths.

.....
As it turns out, shorter lifespans and higher male mortality risk are quite common in many species. Natural selection doesn’t necessarily favor traits commonly associated with health, vigor, and longevity. Instead, it promotes characteristics that provide greater lifetime reproductive success, or in the parlance of evolutionary biology, fitness. If the benefits of increased fitness are greater than the cost of a shorter lifespan or poor health, biology will prioritize those traits. In essence, sex trumps birthday candles.

This tradeoff between longevity and reproduction takes an obvious form in women: Pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation are all physically taxing and energetically costly. Research has shown that bearing more children is associated with higher oxidative stress, which can in turn lead to accelerated aging in post-menopausal women.1 A 2006 historical study of rural Polish women, for example, found a correlation between having more children and a significantly shorter post-menopausal lifespan.2 Although more research needs to be done, it would seem that reproductive effort can literally take years off your life.

But what about men? While they obviously don’t bear the costs of pregnancy, they do still allocate a great deal of energy—also to their own detriment later in life—to improve their chances of reproduction. This “reproductive effort” takes place through engagement in riskier behavior and the accumulation of greater body mass, particularly sexually dimorphic skeletal muscle mass, the extra male-specific muscle in the shoulders, back, and arms. The metabolic costs of maintaining this muscle in men over a lifetime are comparable to the energy expenditure women experience during pregnancy and breast-feeding, but they and their associated health challenges are somewhat manageable. After all, it would be a good idea to evolve physiological mechanisms to manage the tradeoffs that result from the often conflicting needs of body functions. Hormones are one of the most vital agents in managing these tradeoffs. In men, testosterone regulates investment in muscle and reproductive behavior. But like everything else, it, too, has its price.
.....
Burning fat may make you look better in the mirror, for instance, but in the wild, less fat makes you more vulnerable to food shortfalls and infection. This is apparent in many organisms, whose acute rises in testosterone signal an increase in reproductive effort, only to cause challenges to other physiological demands related to well-being. Take the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), a medium-sized Australian marsupial. Male quolls experience a dramatic one-time rise in testosterone that triggers intense bouts of mating—and very high mortality due to male/male aggression and fat depletion. Females live up to three years, whereas males are lucky to make it a year. As ecologist Jaime Heiniger so eloquently states, “It could likely be that they [males] shag themselves to death.”3


The effects of testosterone on longevity and aging in humans are more nuanced and challenging to assess, but given men’s shorter lifespans, an analogous situation could very well be at play. Since it would be unethical to experimentally manipulate testosterone in men to determine effects on lifespan, researchers have to look for more subtle clues, often in historical data. In late 19th-century China and the Ottoman Empire, for example, men of certain religious sects underwent not only castration but complete genital removal, including the penis and scrotum.4 And eunuchs were common in the courts of royalty in preindustrial Korea, as well as in boys choirs in 17th- and 18th-century Europe.5 Although there are other ethnographic instances of castration, these three cases are unique in that longevity was recorded. The Chinese and boys choir records revealed no difference in longevity compared to men who had not been castrated; the Korean study, however, recorded longer lives for eunuchs. Such is science. Even if these studies had been unanimous in their findings, they provide insufficient evidence for reaching a firm conclusion. Other factors, such as nutritional or socioeconomic status, could affect longevity, independent of the effects of testosterone.

....
Testosterone doesn’t just cause metabolic changes: It’s also responsible for significant immunological effects during a man’s lifetime. In the words of Yale evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns, “Macho makes you sick.” Indeed, men often have a harder time than women fighting off infections. There are several potential underlying causes for these differences. Perhaps males are simply exposed to more opportunities for infection than women are. Or it may be that men are at a chemical disadvantage when it comes to fighting off infection—a hypothesis for which there is mounting evidence. Testosterone suppresses immune function, while estradiol, the primary sex steroid in women, bolsters immune function. (The latter does, however, also increase women’s risk of autoimmune disease—again, a compromise nature is willing to make in return for estradiol’s beneficial role in reproduction.) In wild bird, reptile, and mammal populations, testosterone has been found to compromise immune function, and increase the severity of infection and consequentially mortality. Whether this is true for humans remains to be seen, but it seems to fit data collected from men living in regions with high infection risk. In 2005, researchers conducting a study in Honduras found that testosterone levels were lower in men with malarial infections compared to uninfected individuals. When infected men were treated, testosterone rebounded to levels exhibited by uninfected controls.8
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  #213  
Old 04-11-2017, 03:04 PM
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http://www.genre.com/knowledge/blog/..._hsmi=50372129

Quote:
Living to 100 - Implications for Insurers

The number of centenarians, people who've reached their hundredth birthday, has been increasing. The UK had more than 14,000 centenarians in 2015 compared to less than 8,000 in 2012.1 In 50 years, the figure is projected to exceed 400,000. The U.S. currently has around 53,000 centenarians.2 Why do some people live longer than others, and how long can a human being really live?

....
However, the influence of genetic factors has been demonstrated by the New England Centenarian Study - one of the world’s largest studies - which includes an international survey of centenarians and their siblings.3 According to the study’s findings, siblings of centenarians have a much higher chance of reaching age 100 than the general population. It also shows some environmental effects; those of extreme age tend not to be obese, rarely have a substantial smoking history and handle stress better than most people.

In addition to genetics, the effects of epigenetics on the aging process also have to be considered. Although our DNA varies from individual to individual, it does not change throughout life and it is epigenetics that determines when the genes are expressed (turned on or turned off). When we are young, we express genes that help us grow and develop. As we age, we express different genes, such as those that cause inflammation, and fewer genes that result in cell repair. The correlation between age and epigenetic status is widely accepted. However, whether aging causes us to express different genes when we are older or whether our epigenetic markers cause us to express different genes that lead to aging is open to debate.

In addition to the factors that lead to aging and longevity is the question of whether there is a limit to the potential human lifespan. Life expectancy has been rising for many years. One school of thought suggests this demonstrates the potential for increasing life expectancy in the future. Supporting this theory is the potential for cures of major diseases, such as cancer, and for bodily tissues and organs to be regenerated, which leads to the conclusion that there may be no limit on possible lifespan. The alternative view is that human lifespan has a fixed frontier and that even if we eliminated all cancer, heart disease and diabetes, we could expect to live no longer than perhaps age 120.

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  #214  
Old 04-15-2017, 11:48 AM
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Nice visuals here:

https://ourworldindata.org/life-expe...ectancy-by-age
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  #215  
Old 04-17-2017, 02:07 PM
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I like the concept behind this:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...w-it.html?_r=0

Quote:
You Draw It: Just How Bad Is the Drug Overdose Epidemic?
By JOSH KATZ APRIL 14, 2017

How does the surge in drug overdoses compare with other causes of death in the U.S.? Draw your guesses on the charts below.

Since 1990, the number of Americans who have died every year from car accidents...
They give you # of deaths by cause up to year 1990. Then you draw the rest of the graph.

I like the idea, because rather than have the reader just look at a graph of results (which they do give later in the piece), they have you try to think about what happened. These are # of deaths, not rates. It gets people thinking about the data a little, what they expected, and what it actually was -- I think it sticks in the memory better.

But to the meat of the piece:

Quote:
Since 1990, the number of Americans who have died every year from drug overdoses...

… has increased by more than 500 percent. In 2015, more Americans died from drug overdoses than from car accidents and gun homicides combined.

It’s the worst drug overdose epidemic in American history, spurred by rising drug abuse, increased availability of prescription opioids and an influx of potent synthetics like fentanyl and carfentanil.

“It’s horrifying,” said Dr. Dan Ciccarone, a heroin researcher and a professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s not even the magnitude — it’s the steepness at which it’s climbing.” Preliminary numbers for 2016 suggest that overdose deaths are growing at a rate comparable to the height of the H.I.V. epidemic.

The opioid epidemic has not fallen equally on all races or regions. Like an infectious disease, drug overdoses have emerged in clusters around the country.

Among those 15 to 44 — the age group in which drug overdose accounts for the greatest share of deaths — there are vast differences across racial categories and between urban and rural places. Despite the perception of the epidemic as primarily afflicting the rural working class, drug overdoses account for a greater percentage of deaths among the young in large cities and their suburbs, with urban and suburban whites most at risk.

The crisis has hit particularly hard in New England and in parts of Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Those are the places where fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, started to flood into the heroin supply five to 10 years ago. Bodies began piling up.

“It just blew through all the measures we’d been taking,” said Dr. Alex Walley, the director of the Boston University Addiction Medicine Fellowship program. Fentanyl, which acts on opioid receptors in the brain but isn’t made from the opium poppy, is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. Because of that potency, Dr. Walley said, there’s less time after an overdose for someone to intervene. The drug’s short half-life means that users have to inject more frequently, increasing the risk of transmitting H.I.V., hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.


The illicit fentanyls being added to the heroin supply also vary widely in purity and quality. This unpredictability kills: Users often don’t realize the strength of what they’re taking until it’s too late.

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  #216  
Old 04-20-2017, 05:22 PM
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UNITED KINGDOM

https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2...esearch-finds/

Quote:
DB pensioners may live longer, research finds


The life expectancy of people with defined benefit pensions appears to be improving at a faster rate than that of the rest of the population, research by the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has revealed.

According to the latest CMI Mortality Projections Model, increases in life expectancy have slowed down across the population since 2011 and continued through 2016, after a decade of marked improvement.

However, the data found the mortality among pensioners who received a guaranteed income for life through a DB scheme had risen more rapidly.

The overall slowdown led some to suggest that the rapid improvements in mortality in the first decade of this century may have permanently ended.

But the CMI was more cautious, saying there was "significant uncertainty" over whether the slowdown would continue.

.....
Tim Gordon, partner and head of longevity at Aon Hewitt, read the latest figures as an indication that the mortality rates would continue to slow.

"It is increasingly difficult to argue that the fall off in national mortality improvements since 2011 is simply a blip," he said.

"However, the underlying picture for pension schemes is complex and, accordingly, a more-tempered view is appropriate.

"In particular – and perhaps surprisingly – less-well-off defined benefit scheme pensioners appear to have had higher recent mortality improvement than both the national population and better-off defined benefit scheme pensioners."

He said there was a risk that changing or incomplete data on longevity meant schemes considering hedging their longevity risk could "end up with poor pricing, or make a decision based on out-of-date information".

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Old 04-25-2017, 10:25 AM
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https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...d-states/#2014

35 Years Of American Death

Mortality rates for leading causes of death in every U.S. county from 1980 to 2014.

Interesting how you can filter by cause of death. Make sure you hit the play button at the top so you can see the changes over the years.
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Old 04-25-2017, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retsamssa View Post
https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...d-states/#2014

35 Years Of American Death

Mortality rates for leading causes of death in every U.S. county from 1980 to 2014.

Interesting how you can filter by cause of death. Make sure you hit the play button at the top so you can see the changes over the years.
If one wants to play with the underlying data, they can be found here:
https://www.kaggle.com/IHME/us-countylevel-mortality
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Old 04-27-2017, 03:30 PM
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UNITED STATES

https://daily.jstor.org/deaths-of-de...ylist_04272017

Quote:
“DEATHS OF DESPAIR”: WHAT’S REALLY KILLING AMERICANS

It’s well-documented that suicide, alcoholism, and substance abuse are taking their toll on Americans; rates have been climbing in recent years. These tragic and preventable ends are often associated with tormented youth: teenagers who don’t quite fit in, young adults waylaid by lack of prospects or broken relationships, or the mentally ill who can’t access treatment.

Counted among the casualties, however, is a large swath of middle-aged, middle-class white Americans, especially those with lower levels of education, who have seen the modern work environment race ahead, leaving them unceremoniously stranded.

......
The effects of not addressing the emotional ramifications of economic changes are well known. A paper published in 1989 outlined a similar problem among the workforce, focusing on older workers.

The two decades before 1989 saw physical health improve, reflected in lower mortality rates. At the same time, mental health deteriorated as a result of an increase in work-related stress. (In a sentence that may now seem somewhat quaint, the authors warn, “Unrelieved work related stress often results in a debilitating psychological condition referred to as job burnout.”)

Workers’ productivity began to suffer, assuming they didn’t withdraw from their jobs completely. More older workers pulling out from the workforce doesn’t necessarily mean there are more happy retirees. The study suggested that stress outweighed all other factors in the retirement decision, including economic ones. In some cases, this may have meant workers took a hit to their financial standard of living for the sake of their mental health. Additionally, it affects the social security system, as well as company productivity. And those that stay in the workforce suffering from increased anxiety or depression do less work, or work less well, and have a decreased quality of life.

Before, the problem was that the nature of the workforce was moving too fast for older workers to keep up with it. Now, the problem is that nature of the workforce is moving too fast for any workers, and has no place for older workers in it at all. Both of these have a direct impact on mental health, with clear implications for the economy. Both demand policy reform on a fundamental level to ensure that a job is something that enriches a citizen’s life, not something that drives them to end it.



-----
Mental Health and the Labor Force Participation of Older Workers
BY: JEAN M. MITCHELL AND KATHRYN H. ANDERSON

Inquiry, Vol. 26, No. 2, The Economics of Mental Health (Summer 1989), pp. 262-271
Sage Publications, Inc.
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Old 04-28-2017, 06:38 PM
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doesn't =quite= fit my theme here, but ... I prefer to add to extant threads to creating new ones. Mainly because it makes it easier for me to find my links later.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/...-finds-n751681

Quote:
Drugged Driving on Rise, Passes Alcohol Alone in Fatal Crashes, Study Finds

The number of American drivers killed in car crashes in which drugs were detected has eclipsed those killed in crashes where only alcohol was found, according to a new study released Wednesday.

The report by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a nonprofit funded by alcohol distillers, found drugs of all types — illegal and prescription — were present in 43 percent of fatal crashes in 2015 in which test results were available, compared to around 37 percent who tested positive for alcohol.

.....
The data in the report has limitations. The foundation only collected what states report, and states vary in how often tests are used and what substances are tested, the report says. Nine states tested 85 percent or more of fatally-injured drivers in 2015, while two states tested 15 percent or less, the report says.

And the data only records the presence of drugs, not the amount of the drug that could be used to compare to an equivalent blood-alcohol level, the report cautioned. Many impaired drivers are combining substances, which can be especially dangerous, Ralph. S. Blackman, President and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, said.

"Drugged driving is a complicated issue. The more we can synthesize the latest research and share what's going on around the country to address drug-impaired driving, the better positioned states will be to prevent it," study author Dr. Jim Hedlund, a former National Highway Transportation Safety Administration official, said.

The effect of marijuana laws allowing medicinal or recreational use is unclear. The study released this week cites a 2013 study that found increases in marijuana use in fatal crashes in only three of 14 states that passed medical marijuana laws before 2010.

t also cited a 2016 study from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area that said traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana rose from 10 percent in 2009 to 21 percent in 2015, but those numbers include any time marijuana is detected, and other substances could be involved. Colorado voters approved recreational marijuana in 2012.
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