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Chapter 7

Health and Aging reading notes chapter 7

Health Studies
Course Code
Anna Walsh

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Health, Illness, and Optimal Aging
Chapter 7
Sensory System
-composed of 5 senses
-sensory organs allow the nervous system to gain information about the external environment
Age and Disease Related Changes
-skin is the sense organ
-age related changes in the touch receptors (Meissners corpuscles) and pressure receptors (Pacinian corpuscles)
-receptors decrease both in number and sensitivity
-10% decline
-decreases in the both the number of sensory neurons in the nasal lining and in the olfactory pathways to the brain
-decreases a persons appetite
-inability to smell gas and when one has bad body odour
-smoking decreases smell but if you quit can return
-taste buds can sense salt, sweet, sour, bitter, fat, and umami (glutamate)
-smoking decreases this which can lead to anorexia
-affect hearing and balance
-vestibule allows humans to sense gravity and head rotation
-earwax can decrease sensitivity to sound
-decrease can lead to falling and dizziness
-Presbycusis, hearing loss with age, is the most common problem
-tinnitus, ringing of the ears
-cornea, lens, and vitreous humor all diminish in transparency, reducing the amount of light entering the eye and
also scattering the light that does come in making the eye more sensitive to glare
-difficulty focusing on an object
-reduced ability for pupil to enlarge, vulnerable to glare and hard to see at night
-lacrimal gland (tear gland) and conjunctiva produce less of their protective fluids which can result in inflammation
and irritation
-4 most common diseases of the eye in late life are: cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic
- cataracts: cloudiness or opacity of the lens
-cataracts can be fixed with surgery
-glaucoma leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 50; increasing build up of aqueous humor in the eye,
which results in an increase in intraocular pressure and damage to the retina and optic nerve
-AMD (age related macular degeneration); 2 kinds dry (atrophic) and wet (exudative)
-dry is more common but wet is responsible for severe vision loss
Promoting Optimal Aging
-avoid smoking
-maintain good cardiovascular health
-avoid UV light
-good nutrition
Nervous System
Basic Anatomy and Physiology
-primary regulator of the body
-monitors and provides communication between all the systems and regulates homeostasis
-permits voluntary movement and underlies all cognitive processes
-CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord
-PNS (peripheral) consists of sensory and motor neurons
-ANS (Autonomic) is responsible for all regulatory functions
-ANS is subdivided into SNS (sympathetic) and Parasympathetic
-brain stem controls heart beat and respiration
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-cerebellum controls balance, body position, and movement
-limbic system regulates homeostasis, memory, and emotions
-thalamus sorts information
-occipital lobe processes visual information
-parietal lobe processes somatosensory information
-frontal lobes control voluntary motor behaviour, language production and higher order cognitive and emotional
-temporal lobe processes hearing, recognition of faces, and higher order visual processing and emotional control
Age Related Changes
-major loss of neurons with age
-10-15% decrease of brain matter with age
-older neurons may not process glucose as effectively as younger ones
-speed of action potentials decreases with age in both the PNS and the CNS
-changes occur in neurotransmitters in the aging brain
-decrease in acetylcholine in some parts of the brain
-pre and post synaptic dopamine levels decrease
-increase in norepinephrine in some areas and decrease in serotonin
-changes in Blood-Brain Barrier (structure composed primarily of glial and other supporting cells that serve as a
buffer between the nerve cells in the brain and the circulating blood, protecting the nerve cells from many harmful
-brain reserve hypothesis suggest that the brain can absorb a fair amount of damage and still function relatively
normally, given its redundant pathways; with age the reserve capacity decreases until brains are left vulnerable to
damage and disease
Disease Related Process
-CVAs (cerebrovascular accidents) result from the same ischemic problems as heart attacks
-small, temporary ischemic blockages are called transitory ischemic attacks or TIAs
-CVA’s result from permanent blockages in the blood delivery system in the brain which can cause the vessel to be
blocked or less frequently rupture
-symptoms of CVA depend on which area of brain it occurred
-Broca’s area: produce speech
-Wernicke’s area: comprehension
-after CVA’s inflammation which further causes damage
-nearly 1/3 of people over 85 suffer from some form of cognitive impairment
-may result from different types of diseases
-vascular dementia caused by a series of TIAs
-Picks disease and Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease are particularly virulent dementias characterized by very rapid
-Alzheimer’s is most common
-AD characterized by an increase in neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary
-massive loss of neurons, especially cholinergic neurons
-symptoms of AD are memory impairment and at least one other neurological deficit
-manifests as loss of short term memory
-episodic memory refers to memory for specific events, usually personal activities
-semantic memory refers to world knowledge
-procedural memory refers to praxis; the knowledge on how to do things
-personality change characterized by aggression and inappropriate social behaviour
-in late AD cant perform basic tasks
-genetic component
-allele APOE are vulnerable
-treatment involving nicotine, blocking uptake of ACH, and oxidative stress
Parkinsons Disease
-third most common neurological disorder
-loss of cells in the susbtantia nigra, an area in the brainstem which regulates dopamine levels
-ACh governs contraction
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