Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Health and Aging: Unifying Concepts, Scores, Biomarkers and Pathways

Version 1 : Received: 1 August 2018 / Approved: 1 August 2018 / Online: 1 August 2018 (15:00:47 CEST)

How to cite: Fuellen, G.; Jansen, L.; Cohen, A.A.; Luyten, W.; Gogol, M.; Simm, A.; Saul, N.; Cirulli, F.; Berry, A.; Antal, P.; Köhling, R.; Möller, S. Health and Aging: Unifying Concepts, Scores, Biomarkers and Pathways. Preprints 2018, 2018080025 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201808.0025.v1). Fuellen, G.; Jansen, L.; Cohen, A.A.; Luyten, W.; Gogol, M.; Simm, A.; Saul, N.; Cirulli, F.; Berry, A.; Antal, P.; Köhling, R.; Möller, S. Health and Aging: Unifying Concepts, Scores, Biomarkers and Pathways. Preprints 2018, 2018080025 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201808.0025.v1).

Abstract

Despite increasing research efforts, there is a lack of consensus on defining aging or health. To understand the underlying processes, and to foster the development of targeted interventions towards increasing one’s health, there is an urgent need: (1) to find a broadly acceptable and useful definition of health, based on a list of features (which may or may not be molecular); (2) to operationalize features of health so that it can be measured; (3) to identify predictive biomarkers and (molecular) pathways of health, and (4) to suggest interventions, such as nutrition and exercise, targeted at putative causal pathways and processes. Based on a survey of the literature, we propose to define health as a state of an individual characterized by the core features of (a) physiological function, (b) cognitive function and (c) physical function, amended, specifically in case of humans, by (d) lack of disease, and by (e) reproductive function. Often used concepts such as lack of frailty, allostatic load, or self-reported health (in case of human), and indices such as the Healthy Aging Index can be viewed as projections or surrogates of our definition. We further define aging as the set of all processes in an individual that reduce its “wellbeing”, that is, its health or survival or both. We define biomarkers of health by their attribute of predicting future health better than chronological age. We define healthspan pathways as molecular features of health that relate to each other, specifically by belonging to the same molecular pathway. Our conceptual framework may integrate diverse operationalizations of health and guide precision prevention efforts that are a key to reducing the need for medical and nursing care.

Subject Areas

terminology, health, aging, biological age, wellbeing, biomarker

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