Comparative analysis of parameters of human
ontogenesis and senescence

N.S. Gavrilova, L. A. Gavrilov
Center on Aging, NORC and The University of Chicago

The idea of this study is to compare standard deviations for parameters, which are known to be determined by the developmental program (such as ages of sexual maturity) with variation of characteristics related to aging (such as menopause and death).
One of the arguments used by the opponents of programmed aging is a too high variation in individual lifespans compared to the observed variation of programmed events (such as the age of sexual maturation). The main objective of this study is to test the validity of this argument.
Presentation provides the first results on this topic of scientific studies. In particular, data available in the scientific literature on variability of ages at sexual maturation (menarche), menopause and death are compared to results obtained from the nationally representative survey of adult population of the United States (MIDUS) as well as official life table data.
It is shown that standard deviations for age at onset of menarche are about 10 times smaller than standard deviations for ages of death. Such a difference corresponds well to a difference in mean values of ages when menarche and death occur. Thus, the adjusted variability (coefficient of variation) for age at death is of a similar order of magnitude as that for ages at onset of menarche.

Homo Sapiens Liberatus Workshop, Moscow State University, May 2010