Essay Example on The wear and tear theory of Aging









The wear and tear theory of aging is an idea that was proposed by a German biologist named Dr August Wiesmann in 1882 The theory proposes that aging results from a gradual deterioration of the cells and tissues the body via wear and tear oxidative stress exposure to radiation toxins or other deteriorative processes In essence it suggests that human bodies wear out over time with repeated use and increased stress on the body This concept is similar to the idea that objects such as automobiles deteriorate or wear out as they are used repeatedly over time Because people observe the wear and tear on these objects in their everyday lives this theory fits in with their perception of how humans age as well Therefore the concept is very popular as it is frequently used in today's society and has been accepted by many The wear and tear theory can also be described as the fundamental limitations theory or the simple deterioration theory This is based on the idea that aging results from fundamental limitations including the laws of physics and chemistry which are unchanging For instance within the second law of thermodynamics is the idea of which entropy basically suggests that the universe moves toward death and disorder Another argument in support of the wear and tear theory is based on a physical observation that the internal and external organs of the body such as skin and bones noticeably deteriorate over time even when individuals have a healthy lifestyle Another example of a system in the human body that shows gradual deterioration is our nerve cells These cells do not get replaced therefore gradual loss of these cells leads to eventual decrease in function An important thought to keep in mind based on the examples provided is that proponents of the wear and tear theory believe that reversing this wear and tear on the body is impossible despite one s lifestyle 

This statement alone along with other arguments have led to controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the wear and tear theory as more recent data may disprove some of the claims that are proposed by it Researchers in more recent years have argued that this theory is long outdated and that there is no direct data to support the claims made by the wear and tear theory Several arguments have been made as to why the theory does not necessarily explain the aging process Perhaps one main argument against this theory is proven by the ability of a mammal to repair itself The mammal body has repair mechanisms throughout the different systems of the body A simple example is the ability of a broken bone to heal in as little as a few weeks Another key argument is the fact that species become stronger while they are developing rather than starting out at their strongest and at their best performance In fact in infancy an organism is quite weak and strength along with other vital physical and cognitive features progress throughout development before peaking Thus aging is essentially nonexistent during these growth stages because of the progression that occurs during this development as opposed to decline This is the major difference between living species and inanimate objects as material items are considered to be at their peak performance when they are brand new and degrade with each use unlike a living being in its infant stages Another argument made against the wear and tear theory is the idea that there are large differences in the lifespans of similar species 

This would go against what the theory proposes because it fails to provide an explanation for these differences in organisms that are biologically similar It also does not seem to take into account the ability of an organism to repair or heal itself from damage Several research studies have been conducted to test the wear and tear theory For example some studies have found that an increase in stress or illness lowers the life expectancy of organisms therefore concluding that aging is accelerated with this increased stress However this research defined aging in terms of the age associated with death The problem this introduces is whether or not stress speeds up the rate of aging or if a population has a decreased life span because the rate of stress or disease which causes death is increased On the other hand some research has suggested that mammals are equipped to handle stressful situations without a significant effect on the body This would therefore discredit the claim that increased exposure to stress leads to gradual wear out Overall while there are convincing data in favor of and against the wear and tear theory of aging it seems as though other factors must be taken into account as there are many individualized differences even within a single species

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