Dietary effects on sex-specific health dynamics of medfly: Support for the dynamic equilibrium model of aging

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Abstract

We examined experimentally the relationship between the period of unhealthy life and longevity in the medfly by using the first sign of supine behavior (upside down; immobile) in medflies as an indication of their poor health and by altering cohort longevity through dietary manipulations. Our main findings included the following: i) for longer lived medflies it was more likely to observe the supine behavior while shorter lived flies would more likely die before exhibiting the supine behavior. ii) males have similar total life expectancy as females but a longer healthy life expectancy; iii) the total number of healthy days, spent in the pre-supine period, and the amount of healthy life span as a fraction of the total lifespan varied with both sex and diet; iv) despite the large difference in longevity between both male and female medflies when reared on sugar-only diets versus on full diets, the differences in the fraction of their lifespans in the disabled state were relatively modest (64 vs 61% in females and 77 vs 72% in males). This finding that there is no significant change in the proportion of the life course in the unhealthy state is consistent with the ‘dynamic equilibrium’ model of healthy aging.

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