Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed
Age-Related Diseases as Vicious Cycles
: Received: 14 April 2017 / Approved: 18 April 2017 / Online: 18 April 2017 (02:45:04 CEST)
Age-related diseases (ARDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide, and contribute to 90% of mortality in developed countries. Interestingly, the mortality rates of individual ARDs increase exponentially with age. Processes described by the exponential growth function typically involve a branching chain reaction or, more generally, a positive feedback loop. Here I propose that each ARD is mediated by one or several positive feedback loops (vicious cycles). I then identify critical vicious cycles in five major ARDs: atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I also propose that the progression of ARDs can be halted by selectively interrupting the vicious cycles and suggest the most promising targets. An evolutionary perspective is also offered.
aging; age-related disease; mortality rate; positive feedback loop; vicious cycle
Medicine and Pharmacology, Pathology and Pathobiology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
We encourage comments and feedback from a broad range of readers. See criteria for comments and our Diversity statement.
* All users must log in before leaving a comment