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Discuss the Theories of Aging and How These Relate to the Diseases that can affect Humans


The complex and multifactorial nature of aging has been widely studied in recent years, during which time researchers have proposed numerous hypotheses to attempt to explain this complicated process. A plethora of theories exist which contribute to the evidence.  Despite this, the fundamental factors behind the aging process have yet to be completely understood (Trosko, 2003). Semsei (2000) acknowledges that a complete overview of the theories of aging is difficult, due to the abundance of existing research, but it is widely agreed that the theories can be separated into separate categories; genetic and evolutionary program theories that explain intrinsic modifications; and molecular, cellular and biochemical error theories that explain extrinsic modifications (Trosko, 2003; Gavrilov & Gavrilov, 2001; Semsei, 2000).  Internal program theories include evolutionary theories, biological clock theories, and programmed cell death theories. Semsei (2000) provides an overview of the most pertinent theories, and describes their fit amongst the different types of hypotheses. External program theories include those biological clock theories and the evolutionary theories. System theories that relate to error include disease theories, neuroendocrine theories, immune theories, free radical theory, waste accumulation theory and the crosslinking theory. Mutation theories relating to error include dioxyribonucleic acid (DNA) mutations, protein mutations, collagen crosslinks and sugar crosslinks (Semsei, 2000).


Biological effects of cell modification, damage and renewal, along with effects of external influences of environmental factors have been considered. It is also evident that various theories have interlinking associations with others, and this notion of the multifactorial nature of the aging process is crucial to consider. Semsei (2000) demonstrates the complexity of the aging process, and states how the process of aging is ultimately determined by the effects of the external factors, such as the environment, diet, political, sociocultural and economic factors, and the internal factors, such as genetic composition. This research is important for understanding that, whilst no one theory exists to account for explanation of the whole of the aging process, the existing evidence is has been significantly important in contributing facts about aging. It is probable that no one theory will be able to provide a single explanation of how and why aging occurs, but it is the accumulation evidence that provides the basis for what we know about aging in relation to disease.

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