For research purposes, dogs are argued to be a good compromise between the very long life span of humans, meaning costly and lengthy studies that result in high quality data, and the very short lives of mice, meaning less expensive, shorter studies, but questions regarding the relevance of the data to human medicine. Mice are not humans, and any number of efforts to produce new medical technologies have been shipwrecked on that rock. Dogs, of course, are also not humans, but they are much closer than mice in terms of aging and its relationship with cellular biochemistry and metabolism. To pick one example from the scientific community, the recently established Dog Aging Project is an ongoing effort to produce useful data on methods of modestly slowing aging, run by one of a number of research groups who think along these lines.
Age is the greatest risk factor not only for the probability of death, but also for the majority of morbidities associated with mortality. However, studies to identify factors that alter patterns of aging using animal models have focused on lifespan and age-specific mortality, rather than the underlying patterns of morbidity that lead to death.
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