Researchers claim they have debunked a long-standing misconception of the mathematical model of human mortality that predicts a set limit on aging. Their discovery comes as good news in a time of increasing breakthroughs in anti-aging therapy.
The mortality rate in animals and humans alike is governed by the Gompertz mortality law, a model that predicts the probability of death based on two fundamental components: the age-independent Initial Mortality Rate (IMR) and the age-dependent Mortality Rate Doubling Time (MRDT). The two were believed to be universally related by the Strehler-Mildvan (SM) inverse correlation, a theory popularized in 1960 after its publication in Science. It basically indicates that after a certain age (around 30 in humans), the probability of death increases exponentially with time and that any interim anti-aging interventions are mostly futile.
In a recent publication in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, a research team of the biotech company Gero addressed the uncertainties of the Gompertz model. Digging through data of excessive cohort survival studies on C. elegans, they successfully pointed out a fundamental discrepancy in the Strehler-Mildvan correlation within the Gompertz model, finding it´s merely a degenerate consequence of improper fitting rather than biological fact.
“We worked through the entire life histories of thousands of C. elegans that were genetically identical, and the results showed that this [Strehler-Mildvan] correlation was indeed a pure fitting artifact,” group leader Peter Fedichev said.
Fedichev and his team were not the first to question the soundness of the Strehler-Mildvan correlation assumption, but they were the first to really show it arises as an artificial property and not a biological coincidence. Their discovery comes with impeccable timing, as accumulating evidence shifts more and more scientists to address aging as a disease. On top of that, exciting anti-aging therapies are being developed faster than ever. Yet another home run for humanity!
Learn more about aging and the possibilities to extend human life in the words of science ambassador Michio Kaku:
By Luka Zupančič, MSc, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna