The interconnectedness of ageing: does the convoy principal apply?

Jill Saffrey, James E. Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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The convoy principal states that any system is only as functional as its ‘slowest’ unit. As organisms are made up of interconnected networks of physiological systems, it is possible that this principle applies to the biology of ageing. Often biogerontology will focus either on organismal ageing (mechanisms associated with increased longevity of a lower model organism for example), ageing of an individual organ system (such as the cardiovascular/musculoskeletal/immune) or ageing at the cellular level (from telomere length to cellular senescence, with many different cell types being studied) without considering the interconnectedness between the three and importantly, between the separate units of the convoy; the different organ systems. Conceptually, research that aims to identify ‘anti-ageing’ therapies is often deemed to be reaching for a panacea that will arrest or slow down the ageing process as a whole, whereas a more realistic aim is to first identify how we can improve the perfor ...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-132
Number of pages2
Issue number2
Early online date4 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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