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senility(sənil`ətē), deterioration of body and mind associated with old age. Indications of old age vary in the time of their appearance. Stooped posture, wrinkled skin, decrease in muscle strength, changes in the lens and muscles of the eye, brittleness of bone and stiffness of the joints, and hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosisarteriosclerosis
, general term for a condition characterized by thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the walls of the blood vessels. These changes are frequently accompanied by accumulations inside the vessel walls of lipids, e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. ) are among the physical changes associated with old age. The mental changes associated with senility include impairment of judgment, loss of memory, and sometimes childish behavior. The psychological changes are thought to be related to aging of the cortical brain cells. Whereas the physical changes associated with aging occur in all individuals to some extent, evidence of psychological degeneration is not universal. In common usage, the term senility is applied only to mental deterioration. See geriatricsgeriatrics
, the branch of medicine concerned with conditions and diseases of the aged. Many disabilities in old age are caused by or related to the deterioration of the circulatory system (see arteriosclerosis), e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer's disease
, degenerative disease of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex that leads to atrophy of the brain and senile dementia and, ultimately, death. The disease is characterized by abnormal accumulation of plaques and by neurofibrillary tangles (malformed nerve
..... Click the link for more information. ; amnesiaamnesia
, [Gr.,=forgetfulness], condition characterized by loss of memory for long or short intervals of time. It may be caused by injury, shock, senility, severe illness, or mental disease.
..... Click the link for more information. .
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The stage of the cycle of erosion in which erosion of a land surface has reached a minimum, most of the hills have disappeared, and base level has been approached.
Old age and its characteristics.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.