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HLTC22H3 Lecture Notes - Lanolin, Prevalence, Dynamical System

Health Studies
Course Code
Anna Walsh

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Chapter 1- Introduction and Basic Concepts in Aging
Main focus of the book is optimal aging
Aging processes are plastic- how we age and the rate at which we age are balanced
between resources to which we have access and our exposure to various toxins, both of
which are, in part, reflections of the choices we make.
Psychosocial gerontologist focus more on describing what happens cognitively,
emotionally, and socially as we age, w/ a view toward identifying factors that promote
positive aging or increase the risk of negative aging
Biogerontologists focus on describing what happens at the molecular, cellular, and organ
system levels, models emphasize factors that affect the rate of aging. Eg free radicals can
accelerate deterioration, but antioxidants may decelerate it
Health psychology and behavioural medicine provide clear documentation that
psychosocial factors can affect physical health
Psychosocial risk factors can be protective factors as well
All 3 studies are in consensus about ^
Cholesterol-lowering agents and Viagra are among the most commonly prescribed meds
in this country.
Birren, Bulter, Greenhourse and Yarrow (1963) first differentiated between aging per se
and disease they found that nearly all of the deficits generally associated with aging
were found in the older men with subclinical disease, but not in the optimally healthy
men. One exception was neuronal slowing, which even the healthiest older men
manifested. Study showed that older adults can enjoy good health
The recognition that optimal aging is possible led to longititudinal studies such as the
Normative Aging Study and the MacArthur Study of Successful Aging w/ the goal of
understanding healthy aging
Gerontology - since its inception, it has recognized that interdisciplinary endeavors are
required for understanding the aging process
Biogerontology has increased our understanding of the genetic and cellular
mechanisms of aging
Psychology, sociology, and anthropology are also essential to understand aging
Many of the cognitive and physiological declines associated with normal aging can be
Not only are we fragmented within fields, but we are also becoming fragmented across
them. Less communication between the fields
Journal of Gerontology; Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences & Psychological
Sciences and Social Sciences
Although the biological process underlying the aging process were universal, the rate at
which we age is largely a function of culture
How we live and the resources we can use profoundly affect the way we age as much, if
not more than our genetic endowment
Basic Definitions

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It is most common to define young-old persons as those between the ages of 65 and 79,
old-old individuals as those between 80 and 99 and the oldest-old, or centenarians, as
those who are age 100 or older
Young-old individuals are typically relatively healthy and quite functional
Old-old are more likely to be physically and cognitive frail and in need of support
Centenarians are a class unto themselves, and it is more difficult to make generalization
about them
Age- the number of years a person has been alive
Cohort- a group of people who share the same birth year or sometimes those who shared
historical events
Period- the time at which the measurement or assessment occurred
If a particular phenomenon always changes with age, regardless of cohort or period, then
it is an age effect. If the change is specific to a particular cohort but does not occur in any
other group, then it is a cohort effect. If all cohorts or ages change at a particular point in
time, then it is a period effect
Period effects- sometimes general shifts in the whole culture, or even temporary shifts in
the whole culture, or even temporary shifts, may be confused w/ aging effects
Life Span- the absolute length of time a member of a give species may live (humans
Life Expectancy – the length of time an average member of a particular cohort can
expect to live- the age at which half of a cohort will have died
Age- specific life expectancy- the avg number of years that members of a given cohort
who have reached a specific age can expect to live
In nearly every country women enjoy higher life expectancies than men
Calculating life expectancies does not take into account unforeseen historical
circumstances n difficult to project for immigrant groups
Mortality- refers to death
Morbidity refers to illness
All cause mortality ( the total number of deaths in a population)
Morbidity rate refers to the prevalence or total number of cases of a specific disease in a
population, whereas the incidence of illness refers to the number of new cases in a year
Acute illnesses are often self limiting and/or can be successfully treated with medicines
Chronic diseases are often incurable, and treatment focus is on the management and the
delay of disability rather than cure
Nearly 80% of ppl over the age of 65 have atleast one chronic disease
In late life the acute versus chronic distinction can become blurred
The presence of a chronic illness may also reduce the ability to recover from an acute
incident, n acute illness can give rise to a chronic illness
Functional health- the ability to perform daily tasks, such as shopping, paying bills,
preparing meals, or getting around, called instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),
and caring for oneself, such as bathing, dressing, and eating, which are called activities of
daily life (ADLs)

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Optimal Aging-allows for the recognition that there may be different ways of aging well,
that people begin with different configurations of vulnerabilities and resources that afftect
how they age, and that this is a process that continually unfolds
Optimal Aging- is a multidimensional construct that involves avoiding the accelerating
agents that promote premature illness and disability, as well as developing protective
factors that delay or decelerate the aging and disease processes to maintain good physical,
cognitive, and mental health. At the heart of optimal aging is the concept of wisdom
The development of wisdom in adulthood allows individuals to help other to optimize
capacities despite illness and disability, to find meaning and purpose in life,, and to face
disability and even death with relative equanimity
Chapter 12 What is Optimal Aging?
Optimal aging is more than just good health; it must include notions of adult
development as well
Models of Optimal Aging
Optimal Aging- allows for the recognition that there may be different ways of aging
well, that people start with different configurations of vulnerabilities and resources
that affect how they age, and that this is a process that continually unfolds, depending
in part on choices that individuals make
Most models are multidimensional
Models of optimal aging are also teleological, in that they specify a desirable outcome
or telos (goal). A telos reflects the assumptions of the dominant paradigm, as well as
cultural values
Rowe and Kahn’s Model of Successful Aging
Rowe and Kahn identified three components of successful aging avoidance of disease,
maintenance of high cognitive and physical function, and an active engagement with life
The model is hierarchical: good health is thought to enable the other two. Avoiding
disease is defined not only as the absence of overt disease but includes other risk factors
as well. Absence of disease allows for the maintenance of good cognitive and physical
function. In turn, good cognitive and physical function is necessary (but not sufficient)
for active engagement with life. Active engagement is the relationships with other people
and productive behaviour
Avoidance of Disease
There are three critical elements in the prevention of chronic illnesses in late life, all
of which are related to health behaviour habits: avoidance of toxins, good nutrition,
and exercise
Genetic defects play a role primarily in premature death. Once individuals have
survived into later life, their own behaviour plays a much greater role infuture
Bad nutrition- diets too high in fats, simple sugars, and protein, without fresh fruits or
vegetables, and with too many calories promote cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and
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