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Chapter 1. The Myth, History, and Science of Aging

Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9781585623754.385001

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Excerpt

Scholars, physicians, theologians, philosophers, and others have written on the subjects of life, aging, and death for many years. Some of their observations and conclusions are casual, many are frivolous or reek of quackery, and some are based on careful study and considered judgment. These older explorations are interesting because they provide information about social values, the influence of political and economic factors, the level of scientific knowledge, and, in particular, the interpretation of the significance and application of existing knowledge. In addition, the geriatric psychiatrist constantly works against the background of normal aging, despite the immediate presence of physical and psychiatric disorders that demand her or his attention.

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Sample questions:
1.
A number of scientists have studied human tissues and cells to investigate the process of aging. Which of the following investigators became convinced that some human cells grown in culture were immortal?
2.
A number of theories of aging have been proposed by various investigators. Which one of the following types of theories holds that aging is the result of sequential switching on and off of certain genes, and that defects develop during this switching on and off?
3.
Processes of aging that are associated with random changes, such as cell loss or mutation, are part of which of the following theories?
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