Physiological Changes

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Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3
Physiological Changes

age aging differences aging age disease deterioration
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It is evident even from casual observation of physical activities, such as walking, that elderly people exhibit a deterioration of physiological processes. Moreover, the inability of athletes to continue peak performance when they reach their thirties or forties indicates that deterioration begins at a relatively young age and progresses in severity from that point on. Indeed, many studies have confirmed that most physiological processes deteriorate progressively after about thirty years of age, some functions more severely affected than others.
Most of the research on age-associated physiological deterioration has utilized cross-sectional studies; that is, subjects of different ages are studied at a given point in time (e.g., the calendar year 1990). These are called cross-sectional studies because the data are collected from a cross section of the population. Since this study design provides information quickly and relatively inexpensively, it is widely used. However, because of generational factors and selective mortality, the cross-sectional design can yield erroneous information about aging.
An example of how a generational factor may confound an aging study is illustrated by a hypothetical 1970 cross-sectional study of cognitive function in which Americans in the third decade of life were compared with those in the tenth decade. It is critical to note that the average number of years of schooling of Americans has increased markedly during the twentieth century. Therefore, if this study finds cognitive ability of those in the tenth decade of life to be less than in those in the third decade, it may be due to…...

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