Age Trajectories Cluster

Danish Aging Research Center

Senescence is the process of deterioration with age. The increase in human life expectancy since 1950 in long-lived populations has largely been driven by a postponement of senescence by about two years per decade. It is remarkable that the process of deterioration with age is being postponed but is not being slowed down. We seek to understand why.

The “rate of aging”, often designated by b, refers to the rate of increase with age in senescent mortality (i.e., mortality due to deterioration at older ages). The “b hypothesis” is that b is constant across individuals and over time (Vaupel in Nature 2010). One of the fundamental goals of this Research Cluster is to test the b hypothesis and publish the results in major papers. To do so, thousands of life tables are being analyzed for populations in different countries and over time. Furthermore, survival data on subpopulations are also being analyzed, e.g., smokers vs. non-smokers.

To study the postponement of cognitive and physical disability, data from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) as well as data from other surveys are being used.

Finally, we are investigating the impact of environmental and genetic interventions in nonhuman species. Under what circumstances and for which species can the rate of aging be decelerated? To what extent and when could such interventions slow the human rate of aging?


Coordinator: Jim W Vaupel

Related projects

Selected publications

SPUTNIK MOMENT - 30 extra years
Karen Andersen-Ranberg, James Vaupel et al.
A carpe diem Film & TV Production; A film by Lukas Schmid; 2015. 
Film tracing the experience of older people in Germany and USA. It finds similarities between the two nations, as well as many encouraging ways of sharing these 30 extra years. Experts from both countries discuss the topic... Sputnik Moment

Educational inequalities in health expectancy during the financial crisis in Denmark.
Brønnum-Hansen H, Baadsgaard M, Eriksen ML, Andersen-Ranberg K, Jeune B.
Int J Public Health. 2015 Dec;60(8):927-35. Pubmed abstract

Biodemography of human ageing.
Vaupel JW.
Nature. 2010 Mar 25;464(7288):536-42. Pubmed abstract

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