Theories of Aging Papers: Harman’s Free Radical Theory of Aging

Topics: Senescence, Oxidative stress, Free-radical theory Pages: 6 (824 words) Published: July 7, 2014

Theories of Aging Papers: Harman’s Free Radical Theory of Aging Quynh Doan
South State College of Florida
Quynh Doan

Aging the everlasting search for answers to a complex process of human naturalnature. So many theories have been formulated to try to explain the process, but the one I choose to focus on is the Free Radical Theory. Looking the basic concept, benefits, and limitations of the theory. I will also attempt to link the relationship of the Free Radical Theory to the new science of biogerontology.

Theories of Aging Papers: Harman’s Free Radical Theory of Aging In order to understand the theory of Harman's free radical theory we must start with the definition of free radical as given by biology "A stable molecule that causes oxidative damage by stealing electrons from surrounding molecules, therefore disrupting activity in the body's cells" According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) free radicals are found internal and externally. Exposed to environmental sources such as industrial chemicals, x-rays cigarette smoking and air pollutants are consider external sources. Our normal human body metabolic process such as exercising, phagocytosis, ischemia, reperfusion injury and inflammation can generate internal free radical. Free radical reactives are oxygen species (ROS) and nitrogen species both essential elements of life.

The free radical theory was first introduced by R. Genschman in 1954, but was developed by Denham Harman's of the University of Nebraska College of medicine. The theory states that, free radical damage begins at birth and continues until we die. In our youth its effects are relatively minor since the body has extensive repair and replacement mechanisms, however with age the accumulated effects of free radical damage begins to take their toll. Free radical disruption of cell metabolism is part of what ages our cells, it may also create non mutant cells that ultimately leads to cancer or death (, 2010).

As stated by Denham Harman the phenomenon of growth, decline, and death; aging seems to be a more or less a direct function of the metabolic rate and this is in turn, depends on the species. In the end, aging is basically attributed to the attacks of free radicals on molecules with oxygen catalyzed and external sources of free radicals. According to the National Institute of Health some benefit found using the free radical theory is the discovery of antioxidants. This theory claims antioxidants play an essential role in human cell protection, working against the free radical and in turn leads to prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and aging. The limitation of the theory as stated by Muller is inconclusive whether that oxidative stress can determine life span. Free Radical is not the only theorem proposed to explain the aging process, immeasurable oxidative stress leaves ambiguous interpretation in regards to longevity, research continues to identify if it can truly increase longevity. Leaving the question now, how is the Free Radical Theory used in the new science of biogerontology. Scientists conduct studies that suggest that consuming large amount of antioxidant rich food may help protect against disease. The ROS is believed to stimulate physiological adaptation to exercise which lead me to believe that with further studies we are able to help older adults continue to exercise preventing muscular dystrophy, which in turn can lead to a better outcome on life’s longevity.

Genschman, R. (2010, January 1). The Free Radical Theory. . Retrieved June 28, 2014, from Journal of Gerontology. (n.d.). Aging: A Theory Based on Free Radical and Radiation Chemistry. Retrieved June 28, 2014, from Lobo, V., Patil, A.,...

References: to assigned readings are cited and discussed appropriately; Additional references are consulted
APA format, spelling and grammar are correct. Scholarly discourse. Minimum of 3 pages
Total Points = 97
Quynh, Excellent paper on Free Radicals theory of aging. Very thorough introduction and excellent discussion with citations for the benefits and limitations. Alignment with biogerontolgy was well covered. Review APA formatting for title page and references.
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