Joint Analyses of Longitudinal and Time-to-Event Data in Research on Aging: Implications for Predicting Health and Survival.
Longitudinal data on aging, health, and longevity provide a wealth of information to investigate different aspects of the processes of aging and development of diseases leading to death. Statistical methods aimed at analyses of time-to-event data jointly with longitudinal measurements became known as the "joint models" (JM). An important point to consider in analyses of such data in the context of studies on aging, health, and longevity is how to incorporate knowledge and theories about mechanisms and regularities of aging-related changes that accumulate in the research field into respective analytic approaches. In the absence of specific observations of longitudinal dynamics of relevant biomarkers manifesting such mechanisms and regularities, traditional approaches have a rather limited utility to estimate respective parameters that can be meaningfully interpreted from the biological point of view. A conceptual analytic framework for these purposes, the stochastic process model of aging (SPM), has been recently developed in the biodemographic literature. It incorporates available knowledge about mechanisms of aging-related changes, which may be hidden in the individual longitudinal trajectories of physiological variables and this allows for analyzing their indirect impact on risks of diseases and death. Despite, essentially, serving similar purposes, JM and SPM developed in parallel in different disciplines with very limited cross-referencing. Although there were several publications separately reviewing these two approaches, there were no publications presenting both these approaches in some detail. Here, we overview both approaches jointly and provide some new modifications of SPM. We discuss the use of stochastic processes to capture biological variation and heterogeneity in longitudinal patterns and important and promising (but still largely underused) applications of JM and SPM to predictions of individual and population mortality and health-related outcomes.
Arbeev, KG; Akushevich, I; Kulminski, AM; Ukraintseva, SV; Yashin, AI
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