Published on June 30, 2016 Archived on April 30, 2024   48 min

Other Talks in the Series: Aging

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Biodemography. I am James Carey, professor at the University of California, Davis and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging at UC, Berkeley.
I've organized this lecture into three broad parts. First, I'll start with the Biodemography of lifespan. I'll talk about concepts, lifespan and sociality, and human lifespan evolution. Then I'll talk about the population biology of the elderly followed by experimental Biodemography.
First, I'll set the stage by defining Biodemography, this is an area of interdisciplinary research in which principles of both biology and demography are integrated and brought to bear on questions concerned with aging, reproduction, and health in humans but which include the use of model, that is non-human animal systems. We have to subdivisions, first, Biological Biodemography, that's mostly animal research and that's what I'll discuss in this lecture. And secondly, the Biomedical Biodemography, that's mostly human research dealing with healthy aging and geriatrics-related research.
Example questions in biodemographic research include, what factors select for extended life span? Or short lifespan? Are there specific limits to lifespan? Do females outlive males under all circumstances? What is the relationship of healthspan to lifespan? And how does reproduction affect longevity? These are just some examples of many.
So let's dive in, the Biodemography of lifespan, some concepts.
We have five basic concepts dealing with lifespan, these are conceptual issues. First, we need to be able to define in individual, that is, a discrete functional entity. Second, we need to define the genesis, that is, where does lifespan begin, is it conception? Would it be fetal stage, birth which would be typically where we begin human lifespan, or adulthood, which is typically what we start with insects rather than the preadults, the pupae and or an egg, for example? The state of existence, we have normal aging sort to speak and we have arrested metabolism, for example dormancy. The time of existence, this would be the normal period of aging plus the period of arrest or dormancy. And lastly, extinction. An individual can go extinct by dying or it can go extinct through fission that is splitting into two or more or it go extinct through fusion that is two or more individuals fusing into one.