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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2003 Oct;5(5):557-61.

The free radical theory of aging.

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University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Omaha, NE 68198-4635, USA.


Aging is the accumulation of changes that increase the risk of death. Aging changes can be attributed to development, genetic defects, the environment, disease, and an inborn process: the aging process. The latter is the major risk factor for disease and death after age 28 in the developed countries. In these countries, average life expectancies at birth (ALE-B) now range from 76 to 79 years, 6-9 years less than the limit of approximately 85 years imposed by aging. Aging changes may be caused by free radical reactions. The extensive studies based on this possibility hold promise that the ALE-B can be extended to >85 years and the maximum life span increased.

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