Question #1 Agingis a gradual and spontaneous process that begins from the moment we are born untilwe die (Personal communication, Saszik lecture, 9/6/17). The search for thesource of eternal youth or the myths about immortality have given rise tounforgettable pages in the history of universal literature.
Despite theinterest that aging arouses in the scientific world, even today the intimatemechanism by which a person ages it is unknown. However, mechanisms and factorsthat influence this vital process have been delimited. Nonetheless, all thestudies coincide in stating that there is a genetic basis on which differentexternal agents act. Normalaging is the result of a natural maturation process; whereas pathological agingis caused by changes that occur due to diseases or disorders while aging.Consecutively, reserve capacity in old age in the body decreases especiallywhen the demand is highly stressful, affecting the function of the body indifferent ways (Personal communication, Saszik lecture,8/30/17).
For example, homeostasis is more difficult to maintain asreserve capacity decreases and is more susceptible to diseases, infections andaccidents (Personal communication, Saszik lecture,8/30/17). In order to explain what normalaging is, the following theories of aging will be introduced: the endocrinetheory, the immunologic theory, and the cross-linking theory. First,the endocrine theory is biological clocks that act through hormones to controlthe pace of aging.
An example of a pathological change in such theory ismenopause (Personal communication, Saszik lecture,9/6/17). Ovarian function is preprogrammed in women from the embryonicstage; meaning that they have a fixed number of ovules to develop throughout theirlife, so that when they “run out” the ovules stop the normalmenstrual cycle quite abruptly and radically lower the production of femalehormones, especially estrogen and progesterone which are produced by theovaries. Therefore, the woman becomes infertile and secondary sexualcharacteristics deteriorate: such as; there is an impoverishment of the hair inthe sexual zones, there is a certain degree of genital atrophy, as well asglandular mammary tissue, whose size can be maintained at the expense of thefatty tissue, also; psychological and libido changes occur (Saxon et al.
, 2014).Second, the immunologic theory is a programmed declinein the immune system that leads to an increased vulnerability to diseases, and consequentlyfaster aging and death. For example, as an individual age, there is a decreasein the size of the thymus gland. The thymus gland is large in children butshrinks in size with age, and gets replaced with fibrous connective tissue andadipose tissue (Saxonet al., 2014),Lastly, the cross-linking theory is the accumulationof cross-linked proteins that damage cells and tissues, slowing bodilyprocesses (Personalcommunication, Saszik lecture, 9/6/17).It is also called glycation, and it can be both endogenous or exogenous.
For example,exogenous glycation is created when sugars are cooked with proteins or fats (Personal communication, Sasziklecture, 9/6/17). While, endogenousglycation is the consumption of high glycation sugars (fructose and glucose)that contribute to great amounts of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs)found in the body (Personalcommunication, Saszik lecture, 9/6/17).Diabetes increases blood sugar levels and reduces the kidney’s ability toexcrete AGEs. In both exogenous and endogenous glycation, diabetes tends to bea reactive molecule that lead to age-related diseases (Personal communication, Saszik lecture,9/6/17).
Such disease is found in the pancreas (Personal communication, Sasziklecture, 11/29/17). The pancreas is agland with both exocrine and endocrine function (Saxon et al., 2014). Also, there is two hormones produced in the pancreascalled insulin (lowers blood glucose level) and glucagon (raises blood glucoselevel) (Personalcommunication, Saszik lecture, 11/29/17).