The death spiral: predicting death in Drosophila cohorts
Drosophila research has identified a new feature of aging that has been called the death spiral. The death spiral is a period prior to death during which there is a decline in life-history characters, such as fecundity, as well as physiological characters. First, we review the data from the Drosophila and medfly literature that suggest the existence of death spirals. Second, we re-analyze five cases with such data from four laboratories using a generalized statistical framework, a re-analysis that strengthens the case for the salience of the death spiral phenomenon. Third, we raise the issue whether death spirals need to be taken into account in the analysis of functional characters over age, in aging research with model species as well as human data.