Biology and Behavior

1st Edition - January 1, 1981

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  • Editors: James L McGaugh, Sara B. Kiesler
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483260051

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Aging: Biology and Behavior addresses behavioral changes in aging related to biological processes, focusing on the nature of changes in brain plasticity, factors influencing life-span, and environmental and social influences on health in the elderly. This book is divided into four main topics—longevity, aging, and mortality; aging brain and behavior; cognitive and social functioning; and health. In these topics, this publication specifically discusses the longevity in primates, life-span extension, environment and biology in aging, and some economic implications of life-span extension. The neurobiological basis of age-related changes in neuronal connectivity, aging and brain plasticity, and cognitive functioning in the elderly are also elaborated. This text likewise covers the life changes and disease in elderly populations, social stress and mental disorders in the elderly, and perspective of social epidemiology. This volume is a useful source to clinicians and students examining possible social and behavioral science research perspectives on aging.

Table of Contents

  • List of Contributors



    1 Overview on Aging: Some Biomedical, Social, and Behavioral Perspectives

    Stability and Change in the Family

    The Elderly of the Future

    Biology and Behavior of the Elderly


    I Longevity, Aging, and Mortality

    2 Longevity in Primates

    Length of Life in Primates

    Human Evolution: The Last Four Million Years


    3 Life-Span Extension

    Defining Life-Span

    Distribution of Aging

    Biology of General Health Maintenance: A Unique Role for Biological Gerontology

    Biological Nature of Aging

    Genetic Complexity of General Health Maintenance

    Summary and Conclusions


    4 Environment and Biology in Aging: Some Epidemiological Notions

    Differentiation of Levels of Organization

    Separation of History and the Life-Cycle

    Maternal Age and Trisomy

    Spontaneous Abortion and Aging


    5 Some Economic Implications of Life-Span Extension

    Per Capita Output and Economic Welfare Assuming a Fixed Stock of Capital

    Capital Stock, Capital Intensity, and Output per Worker

    The Skill Composition of the Labor Force

    The Social Security System and other Economic Institutions


    6 Old Age in Tzintzuntzan, Mexico

    Tzintzuntzan, Michoacân, Mexico

    The View of Old Age in Tzintzuntzan

    Life for the Aged

    To Be Old in Tzintzuntzan: The Pros and Cons


    II Aging Brain and Behavior

    7 The Neurobiological Basis of Age-Related Changes in Neuronal Connectivity

    Changes in the Number of Synapses

    Changes in the Organization of the Brain

    Changes in the Microenvironment of Neurons

    Changes in the Metabolism of Neurons


    8 Experience and the Changing Brain

    Experience and Selective Preservation in Early Development

    Experience and Plasticity in the Adult Brain

    Changes in the Aging Brain and Behavior

    Conceptual Views of Losses in Synaptic Connectivity

    Experience and the Aging Brain


    9 Aging and Brain Plasticity

    Theories of Aging and Their Application to the Central Nervous System

    Approaching the Problem of Brain Aging

    Age-Related Changes in Hippocampal Physiology and Function

    Anatomical Plasticity in the Hippocampus: Changes over the Life-Span and Some Possible Regulatory Factors

    Summary and Conclusions


    III Cognitive and Social Functioning

    10 Cognitive Functioning in the Elderly: Influence of Physical Health

    Research Designs

    Patterns of Cognitive Functioning

    Health Status and Cognitive Functioning

    Cardiovascular Disease and Cognitive Functioning

    Cognitive Functioning and Survivorship



    11 Old Age: An Artifact

    The Elderly and Perceived Control


    Negative Consequences for the Elderly

    Implications of Mindlessness for the Elderly



    12 The Function of Denial in Stress, Coping, and Aging

    The Sustaining Function of Illusions

    Denial, Illusion, and Other Related Processes

    Research of Denial-Like Processes

    Summary of the Adaptational Costs and Benefits of Denial-Like Processes


    IV Health

    13 Life Changes and Disease in Elderly Populations: Coping with Change

    Life Changes and Disease

    Social Relationships and Health

    Conclusions and Recommendations


    14 Social Stress and Mental Disorders in the Elderly

    Defining the Dependent Variable

    Defining the Independent Variable

    Study Design





    15 Some Psychosocial Influences on the Health Status of the Elderly: The Perspective of Social Epidemiology

    Choosing Indicators of Health Status

    The Changing Risk Factor Picture with Age

    The Impact of Selected Social Experiences on the Health of the Elderly

    Medical Care Behavior of the Elderly



    Appendix A Biology and Behavior of the Elderly, June 22-24, 1979, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

    Appendix B Reviewers

    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 428
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1981
  • Published: January 1, 1981
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483260051

About the Editors

James L McGaugh

Sara B. Kiesler

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