Bone marrow, thymus and blood: changes across the lifespan

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The aim of this review is to present age-related changes in the bone marrow and thymus and their effects in later life. Age-related hematologic changes are marked by a decline in marrow cellularity, an increased risk of myeloproliferative disorders and anemia, and a decline in adaptive immunity. The exact mechanisms that produce these changes remain undefined. For the most part, the changes in function that are a consequence of aging alone rarely have meaningful clinical consequences. However, in the face of the stresses induced by other illnesses, the decreased physiologic reserve can slow or prevent an appropriate response to the stressors.

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