Chapter 6 outline.docx - CHAPTER 6 BIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES...

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CHAPTER 6. BIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON AGING CHAPTER OUTLINE I. Theories of Biological Aging This chapter focuses on common theories of biological aging and examines some of the normal processes of biological aging for some specific systems of the body. It makes a distinction between the process of normal aging and pathology. a. Environmental Theories of Aging 1. Wear and Tear Theory - It was proposed by German biologist August Wiesmann. The body functions like a machine, and as it ages, it loses its capability to function. It is a difficult theory to test. Also, more active organisms do not age as quickly. 2. Somatic Mutation Theory - This theory notes that insults from the external environment like air and chemical pollution, food pollution, and radiation can cause mutation. First became prominent after World War II when scientists noted the long-term damage cause to people who were exposed to radiation from bombs. It does not take exposure to something as dramatic as a bomb to cause genetic damage, however. b. Developmental/Genetic Theories of Aging 1. The Immune Function Theory - This is based on two discoveries. The first is that the immune system declines with aging. The second is that the immune system is unable to distinguish between self and nonself. Consequently, it attacks proteins produced by the body as if they were invaders. Evidence does not support that a decline in the immune system causes normal aging. 2. Cross-Linkage Theory - It posits that the accumulation of cross-linked collagen is responsible for the loss of elasticity of the skin, hardening of the arteries of the circulatory system, and stiffness of joints throughout the body. It does focus on biochemical changes, but the accumulation of cross-linked collagen is not a major cause of aging. 3. Free Radical Theory - A popular theory of aging, it maintains that there are unstable molecules that are produced when the body transforms food into chemical energy. When they try to unite with other molecules in the area, they can
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