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Alzheimer's disease
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disease associated with aging characterized by gradual declines in memory, learning, attention, and judgment; confusion as to time and where one is; difficulties in communicating and finding the words one wants to use; declines in personal hygiene and self-care skills; inappropri ate social behavior; and changes in personality. Affects 25% of those 85 and older.
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terms list

Alzheimer's disease
disease associated with aging characterized by gradual declines in memory, learning, attention, and judgment; confusion as to time and where one is; difficulties in communicating and finding the words one wants to use; declines in personal hygiene and self-care skills; inappropri ate social behavior; and changes in personality. Affects 25% of those 85 and older.
protein that is produced in abnormally high levels in Alzheimer's disease and that may be responsible for the neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques
anxiety disorders
problems such as feelings of severe anxiety for no apparent reason, phobias to specific things or places, and obsessive-compulsive disorders in which thoughts or actions are repeatedly performed. More common in older adults, 10% of older women, 5% of older men. Treated with medication and psychotherapy (relaxation).
attentional control
the abilities to focus, switch, and divide attention. If older adults are told where to focus and when to shift attention, difference is minimized. If the rate of attention shift is fast, young adults do better.
average life expectancy
age at which half of the people born in a particular year will have died. Increases due to declines in infant mortality, women dying during childbirth, elimination of major diseases, and improvements in medical technology.
behavior therapy
approach to treating depression based on increasing the number of rewards or reinforcements in the environment, and decreasing the number of negative things by avoiding them
cellular theories
theories of aging that focus on processes that occur within individual cells. One theory is the buildup of harmful substances in cells over one's lifetime. Another is a limit on the number of times cells can divide, possibly caused by the shortening of the telomeres.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
most common form of incapacitating respiratory disease among older adults; examples are asthma and emphysema
circadian rhythm
sleep-wake cycle, when disturbed causes problems with attention and memory
cognitive therapy
approach to depression based on the idea that maladaptive beliefs (viewing yourself as inadequate) or cognitions about oneself are responsible for depression
theory of aging in which some proteins interact randomly with certain body tissues, such as muscles and arteries, resulting in elastic tissue becoming stiffer. Little evidence showing cross-linking causes all aspects of aging.
family of diseases involving serious impairment of behavioral and cognitive functioning
people who study population trends
feeling sad or down; the most prominent symptom of depression
episodic memory
the general sub-explicit class of memory having to do with the conscious recollection of information from a specific time or event. Older adults perform worse than young adults.
explicit memory
conscious and intentional remembering of information that is learned and remembered at a specific time
external aids
memory aids that rely on environmental resources, such as notebooks or calendars
free radicals
chemicals produced randomly during normal cell metabolism that bond easily to other substances inside cells, causing cell damage that impairs functioning. Formation can be prevented with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E.
break in any blood vessel that leads to loss of blood
heterocyclic antidepressants (HCAs)
type of medication used to treat depression
implicit memory
effortless recollection of information learned at some earlier time. Age differences absent.
loss of bladder or bowel control, common in advanced stages of Alzheimer's.
internal aids
memory aids that rely on mental processes, such as imagery
internal belief systems
what one tells oneself about why certain things are happening. People who are depressed blame themselves.
number of years a person will live, determined by genetic and environmental factors
maximum life expectancy
oldest age to which any person lives, around 120 years
metabolic theories
theories of aging that focus on aspects of the body's metabolism, mainly caloric intake and stress. People who limit the number of calories they eat can expect to live longer and lower rates of disease. Another theory is the hormonal regulatory system's ability to adapt to stress declines with age.
monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors
type of medication used to treat depression
neuritic plaques
damaged and dying neurons that collect around a core of protein, that interfere with normal neuron functioning, associated with dementia.
neurofibrillary tangles
masses formed from when the fibers that compose the axon become twisted, which interfere with the neuron's ability to transmit information down the axon, associated with Alzheimer's disease.
chemicals released by the terminal buttons that allow neurons to communicate with each other. Levels decline with age, responsible for age-related changes in memory, sleep, and perhaps Parkinson's.
Parkinson's disease
common disease among older adults that results in motor problems, including slow walking, difficulty getting into and out of chairs, and hand tremors. Caused by deterioration of neurons that produce dopamine. Treated with medication and/or a neurostimulator. About 30 to 50% of the time, Parkinson's involves severe cognitive impairment and dementia.
population pyramid
graphic technique used by demographers to illustrate population trends
loss in the ability to hear high-pitched tones caused by the cumulative effects of noise. Most common age-related hearing problem experienced by 50% of those in late 70s. Results from 4 changes in the inner ear: sensory, neural, metabolic, and mechanical.
difficulty in seeing close objects clearly, caused by the inability of the lens to focus as the muscles around it stiffen
programmed cell death theories
theories that suggest that aging is genetically programmed, cells ability to self-destruct, and to trigger key processes in other cells.
psychomotor speed
speed with which a person makes a particular response, most studied phenomena of aging, people slow down as they get older, because they take longer to decide they need to respond. Minimized if adults can practice quick responses, or if they're experienced in the task.
selective attention
the selection of relevant information and inhibition of irrelevant information. Older adults tend to perform poorer, though differences are minimized when simple searches or sufficient practice.
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
type of medication used to treat depression that alters the balance of serotonin in the brain
semantic memory
the general sub-explicit class of memory concerning the remembering of meanings of words or concepts not tied to a specific time or event. Age differences absent.
spaced retrieval
memory intervention that involves teaching persons with Alzheimer's disease to remember new information by gradually increasing the time between retrieval attempts
interruption in the flow of blood in the brain due to a blockage in a cerebral artery caused by clots or fatty substances (atherosclerosis)
tips of the chromosomes, which apparently play a major role in limiting the number of times a cell can divide before dying
transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)
an interruption of blood flow to the brain that often is an early warning sign of stroke
useful life expectancy
number of years a person has that are free from debilitating chronic disease and impairment
vascular dementia
disease caused by numerous small cerebrovascular accidents
the maintenance of attention over time. With minimization of memory demands, practice, and visual impairments corrected, differences are minimized.
wear-and-tear theory
theory of aging that suggests that the body, much like a machine, gradually deteriorates over time and finally wears out. Explains diseases such as osteoarthritis rather well, does not explain brain diseases.
working memory
type of memory in which a small number of items can be stored briefly, working blackboard, declines with age
how the population pyramid has changed
proportion of older adults has increased due to better health care and lowering women's mortality rate during childbirth
composition of future adult populations
latinos, asian and native americans, and blacks show very large increases. Future adults will also be better educated.
environmental factors on longevity
diseases (Alzheimer's), toxins (pollution), lifestyle (smoking, exercise), social class (poor, cannot afford cost of healthful lifestyle)
gender factors on longevity
women's average longevity is 7 more than men's at birth, narrowing to 1 year by age 85. Some guess this is due to men's higher susceptibility to fatal diseases.
third age vs fourth age
third age (young-old age 60-80) see increase in life expectancy, potential for physical and mental fitness, evidence of cognitive and emotional reserves, and high levels of emotional and personal well-being. Fourth age (oldest-old age 80+) see losses in cognitive potential and ability to learn, increase in the effects of chronic stress, high prevalence of dementia, frailty, and multiple chronic conditions, and problems with quality of life and dying with dignity.
changes in dendrites as you age
some shrivel up and die, however some continue to grow
structural imaging
brain imaging technique that provides images of anatomical features in the brain
functional imaging
brain imaging technique that provides an indication of brain activity but not high anatomical detail
changes in cardiovascular system
beginning in young adulthood fat deposits found in arteries, cardiac output will decline 30% by late 70s, heart muscle tissue will be replaced by connective tissue, arteries will calcify.
diagnosing strokes and vascular dementia
evidence may be obtained from an MRI or CT, which is confirmed by neuropsychological tests. Known risk factors are hypertension and family history of the disorder.
changes in respiratory system
maximum air in one breath drops 40% from 25 to 85, due to stiffening of rib cage and air passages, and destruction of alveoli
normal structural changes in the eye
decrease in the amount of light that can pass through the eye, the eye becomes yellow, causing poorer color discrimination, and the loss of ability of the lens to adjust and focus as the muscles around it stiffen.
abnormal structural changes in the eye
opaque spots called cataracts which limit the amount of light transmitted, fluid buildup that causes high pressure (glaucoma) may develop.
macular degeneration
the progressive destruction of receptors resulting in the loss of ability to see details, affecting 1 in 5 people over 75 and is the leading cause of functional blindness.
diabetic retinopathy
by-product of diabetes, causes fluid retention in the macula, detachment of the retina, hemorrhage, and aneurysms
ability to see details, declines steadily between ages 20 and 60
effects of loss of hearing
numerous adverse emotional reactions, such as loss of independence, social isolation, irritation, paranoia, and depression
changes in sense of smell
substantial declines after age 70, which are characteristic of Alzheimer's
sleep disturbances
due to mental health problems, physical diseases, and other conditions such as obesity.
nutrition for older adults
residents of nursing homes and frail older adults are prone to weight loss and may have nutritional deficiencies, such as B12 and folic acid.
risk of cancer
partly caused by lifestyle, genetics, and exposure to carcinogens, the risk of cancer increases with age. Early detection is crucial to maximize odds of surviving.
immigrant status on health
have difficulty communicating, may not let others examine them, higher rates of depression
has three components (selection, vigilance, control) which allow people to perform a variety of functions. Improved by aerobics. No simple description in developmental changes in attentional abilities.
autobiographical memory
memory for events that occurred during one's life. Memories between ages 10 and 30 are reported more often than those occurring after age 30.
determining abnormal memory changes
first step is find out if the change interferes with everyday functioning. When memory problem interferes with functioning, one should obtain a thorough examination (physical, neurological, and neuropsychological).
E-I-E-I-O framework
developed by Camp, allows different types of memory to be combined with different memory aids: explicit-internal such as rehearsal, explicit-external such as taking notes (most frequently used), implicit-internal represents effortless learning, and implicit-external such as icons representing the time of day and the number of pills to take.
creative idea changes with age
overall number of creative ideas increases through one's 20s, plateaus in one's 30s, and declines thereafter. People keep producing the ideas, they're just fewer of them. Mathematics had the youngest age of first contribution, and earth sciences tend to have the oldest age at last important contribution.
Baltes' 4 characteristics of wisdom
deals with important matters of life and the human condition, is truly superior knowledge/advice, is knowledge with extraordinary scope/depth, and is well intended and combines mind and virtue.
Baltes' 3 factors that foster wisdom
general personal conditions (such as mental ability), specific expertise conditions (such as mentoring or practice), and facilitative life contexts (such as education or leadership experience)
declines from young adulthood to old age, cross-culturally. Rates are higher in Latino older adults. Diagnosed on the basis of two clusters of symptoms present for 2 weeks: feelings and physical changes. Impairs daily living. Older adults have less depression due to better coping skills.
feeling signs of depression
feeling sad, helpless, or tired. Older adults will appear apathetic and expressionless, confine, neglect, and to make derogatory statements about themselves.
physical signs of depression
loss of appetite, insomnia, and trouble breathing
problems that resemble depression
neurological disorder, medication side effect, metabolic condition, substance abuse
causes of depression
biological: imbalances in specific neurotransmitters, psychosocial: how we interpret loss of something
MAO inhibitors
usually used as a last resort to treat depression
work by boosting level of serotonin, and had the lowest overall side effects
diagnosing Alzheimer's
rule out all other conditions via medical and psychological tests: blood tests, metabolic and neurological tests, and neuropsychological tests.
causes of Alzheimer's
some forms show inheritance, links between genetic markers and production of amyloid protein,
helping Alzheimer's patients
acytylcholinesterase inhibitors have showed promise to improve cognitive functioning, thioridazine and haloperidol treat severe psychotic symptoms, antidepressants alleviate depression, spaced retrieval

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