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From lecture, we know that radicals are exceptions to the octet rule because they have an odd number of electrons, which makes the octet formation numerically impossible, as well as having electrons with unpaired spins, overall making the molecule unstable and highly reactive. In the body, these radicals occur naturally since it's a byproduct of metabolism. In excess, how do these radicals affect the body on a cellular level?
At the cellular level, radicals seek out and oxidize molecules in the cells so that they can become a pair. Scientists believe that radicals are a major cause of aging, as these free radicals cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA.
Free radicals in the body damage living cells and tissues in a process called "oxidative stress." Also, as the body ages, it loses its ability to fight off free radicals and this results in the presence of more free radicals in the body, which leads to more oxidative stress and more damage to cells. Also, free radicals are linked to diseases such as Alzheimer's and rheumatoid arthritis.
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