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Chapter 20 Adulthood Biosocial Development

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Louisiana State University
PSYC 4070

Chapter 20 Adulthood Biosocial DevelopmentSenescenceSenescenceA gradual physical decline relative to aging Senescence occurs in everyone and in every body part but the rate of decline is highly variable within and between persons Senescence affects every part of the body visible and invisible Although senescence affects every part of the body it does not necessarily or directly cause illness or even impairment Fewer middleaged adults are depressed than younger adults and often happiness increases with age People rarely notice that their hearts lungs and so on are losing reserve capacity because hearts at rest function well until after age 70 Homeostasis keeps every physical function in balance Neurons fire more slowly and messages sent from the axon of one neuron are not picked up as quickly by the dendrite of another neuron so reaction time lengthens Brain size decreases Multitasking becomes harder processing takes longer and complex working memory tasks may become impossible If brain loss occurs in middle adulthood the cause is not senescence but usually one of the following1Drug abuse wet brain2Poor circulation3Viruses4Genes AlzheimersExternal changesin skin hair agility and body shapeshow age Few people want to look old The first visible changes are in the skin which becomes dryer rougher and less regular in color Collagen the main component of the connective tissue of the body decreases by about 1 per year starting at age 20 By age 60 all faces are wrinkledHair usually turns gray and thins first at the temples by age 40 and then over the rest of the scalp Body hair also becomes thinner and lighterA middleaged spread increases waist circumference all the muscles weaken pockets of fat settle on the abdomen the upper arms the buttocks and the chin people stoop slightly when they standBack muscles connective tissue and bones lose density making the vertebrae in the spine shrink The joints lose flexibility stiffness is more evident bending is harder Fibers for Type II
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