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HLTC22H3 (110)
Dan Silver (10)

Chapter 7.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Dan Silver

Chapter 7 Aging and the Regulatory Systems Sensory SystemThe sensory system is composed of 5 senses touch smell taste hearing and visionSensory organs allow the nervous system to gain info about the external environmentAgeand DiseaseRelated Changes TouchThe skin is the sense organ for touchW age these receptorstouchpressure decrease both in number and in sensitivity resulting in a degradation of the sense of touch w decreases ability to detect locate or identify objects SmellGiven the importance of smell in the sense of taste degradations in the ability to smell food may impair an older persons appetiteThe ability to smell is also important in detecting whether food has gone bad and foodbourne illnesses are a risk for older adults who have lost much of their sense of smell as they may be unable to determine whether or not food has spoiledDecrease in the senses of smell may have other safety and behavioural implications like an inability to detect leaking gas or when one has unacceptable body odoursTasteMost of what we consider is actually a function of smellThe taste buds in the tongue can sense salt sweet sour bitter fat and umami which is composed of glutamate At worst aging may cause slight decreases in the sensitivity of these neurons which may be below the sensory threshold and thus undetectable Decline in the sense of taste can have serious consequences as it is one factor that can lead to anorexia in older adultsHearingAgerelated changes in the auditory structures affect not only hearing but balance as wellSound is transmitted through the outer ear via the ear canal into the middle ear through vibrations in the eardrum Fig 71 pg 166The middle ear contains three ossicles or little bones that pass vibrations to the oval window a flexible membrane that is the beginning of the inner earFluid in the inner ear puts pressure on the cochleaThis is lined w the basilar membrane which bristles w row of 1000s of neurons that make up the organ of CortiThese hair cells contact nerve fibres that transmit acoustic signals to the CNSA highly complex structure in the inner ear called the vestibule allows organisms to sense gravity and head rotationThe vestibule consists of 2 small gelatinfilled sacks that have small mineral particles and hairlike sensorsThe minerals press down on the sensors transmitting info to the brain on the position of the head and therefore whether one is upright upside down or tiltedMany agerelated changes can affect hearing and balanceCells in the ear canal generate earwax a lubricant that thickens w age and can build up decreasing sensitivity to soundAlthough the eardrum itself can become stiffer and the ossicles a bit arthritic this does not end to affect hearing
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