Chap 1&12 Guide – Aging, defs, models of optimal aging

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12 Sep 2010
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Chap 1&12 Guide ± Aging, defs, models of optimal aging
Chapter 1 ± Introduction and Basic Concepts in Aging
Aging processes
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x 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 gerontologists
x Focused more on describing the cognitive, emotional and social parts of
aging.
x Idea of plasticity
o Turning points exist through which people can change paths of their
life course.
Biogerontologists
x Focused more on describing what happens at the molecular, cellular and
organ system levels.
x Rate of aging of the organs.
o Free radicals can accelerate deterioration
o Antioxidants may decelerate it.
x Findings about the mechanisms of aging in one species (or even in one
strain) often do not hold up in others.
Baby boomer generation
x poised to retire and start collection pensions and health care benefits.
x Overwhelming interest in staving off the ravages of old age.
o Ie: cholesterol-lowering agents and Viagra
Aging vs Disease
x Birren, Butler, Greenhouse and Yarrow (1963)
o Divided healthy older men into two groups
Those with subclinical disease
Those who were completely healthy
o Found all of the deficits associated with aging (ex: memory loss,
decrease in grip strength, decline in cardiovascular output) were
found in older men with subclinical disease but not in the optimally
healthy men.
Found one exception, neuronal slowing. (Both groups
manifested it)
o This study opened the door to the recognition that aging is not
necessarily associated with unmitigated pain and suffering.
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o .:. Older adults can enjoy good physical and mental health and be
cognitively intact.
o Led to longitudinal studies
Normative Aging Study (Bosse Spiro, 1995)
MacArthur Study of Successful Aging (Rowe & Kahn, 1997)
Gerontology
x Unique among scientific disciplines
o Recognized that interdisciplinary endeavors are required for
understanding the aging process.
Biogerontology Æ genetic/cellular
Psych, Anthro, Socio Æproccesses/ramifications of aging
x Realization that we are just beginning to comprehend the processes.
o Led to hundreds of intervention studies
Demonstrated that many of the cognitive and physiological
declines associated with normal aging can be reversed.
Different disciplines
x Findings may vary across time
x Findings may not hold up in others.
x Accepted results that are true for one cohort may not be for another.
x Idea of fragments; fragmented within fields, fragmented across them.
x Explosion of information Æ seperation
o Journal of Gerontology into Bio/Med and Psych/Socio
.:. How we live and the resources we can profoundly use affect the way we age
as much, if not more, than our genetic endowment.
Late Life
x Young-old vs old-old
o Young-old ± 65 to 79
Typically healthy and quite functional.
o Old-old ± 80 and 99
More likely to be physically and cognitively frail (in need of
support)
o Oldest-old ± 100+ (centenarians)
Hardy and as sharp as a tack
More are extraordinarily frail.
Age ± number of years a person has been alive
Cohort ± group of people who share the same birth year or sometimes who
shared historical events, such as WWII.
Period ± time at which the measurement or assessment occurred.
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Age effect ± particular phenomenon that always changes with age, regardless of
cohort or period.
Cohort effect ± change is specific to a particular cohort but does not occur in any
other group.
x Historically unique, experience may not generalize with other cohorts.
o 70 yr old in 1950 vs 70 yr old in 2000
Period effect ± all cohorts or ages change at a particular point in time.
x General shifts in the whole culture or temp shifts may be confused with
aging effects.
x Bradburn and Caplovitz (1965) ± Cuban missile crisis.
o Historical events may affect the mood of an entire population
Life span ± absolute length of time a member of a given species may live. (~120
in humans)
Life expectancy ± length of time an average member of a particular cohort can
expect to live.
x Calculating life expectancy involves a number of assumptions and cannot
take into account unforeseen historical circumstances.
Age-specific life expectancy ± average number of years that members of a given
cohort who have reached a specific age can expect to live.
Mortality ± refers to death
Morbidity ± refers to illness
Mortality rates ± number of people who die during a given period of time.
All-cause mortality ± the total number of deaths in a population
x Epidemiological and biomedical studies may attempt to predict it.
Morbidity rate ± prevalence or total number of cases of a specific disease in a
population
Incidence of illness ± number of new cases in a year.
Acute illnesses ± often self-limited and/or can be successfully treated with
medicines
Chronic diseases ± often incurable, and treatment focus is on the management
and the delay of disability rather than cure.
ÆAcute vs chronic distinction can become blurred.
x Those with chronic diseases can be more susceptible to acute illnesses
such as colds, pneumonia, etc.
x The presence of a chronic illness may also reduce the ability to recover
from an acute incident.
x Acute illnesses such as viral infections may give rise to chronic problems.
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Document Summary

Chap 1&12 guide  aging, defs, models of optimal aging. Chapter 1  introduction and basic concepts in aging. N 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. N focused more on describing the cognitive, emotional and social parts of aging. N life course: turning points exist through which people can change paths of their. N focused more on describing what happens at the molecular, cellular and organ system levels. N rate of aging of the organs: free radicals can accelerate deterioration, antioxidants may decelerate it. N findings about the mechanisms of aging in one species (or even in one strain) often do not hold up in others. N poised to retire and start collection pensions and health care benefits. N overwhelming interest in staving off the ravages of old age.

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