Laboratory Health Measures and Optimal Structures for Aging
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Aging in biological systems is complex. There is agreement that aging is a gradual accumulation of dysregulation and damage in the organism. However, there is little consensus on how to effectively measure this health state at any given time, let alone how to model the propagation or accumulation of poor health. The frailty index (FI), which measures the fraction of measured health aspects in a damaged state, is an effective measure of general health in an organism. The advantages of the FI are that it is largely insensitive to which health aspects are included and does not impose any structure on the accumulation or propagation of damage. In this work I aim to effectively include health aspects not typically included in the FI such as blood test results and other measurements not naturally dichotomized into a healthy or unhealthy state. The goal of this exercise being to extend the applicability of the FI to lower and more detailed levels of health. Following the practical work on measuring health on lower scales, I investigate how the levels of health interact in a network model of human aging. Through an optimization framework I investigate how the levels of health are arranged for maximizing lifespan and healthspan.