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February 25, 1998

Questions of Life and Death in Old Age

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla.

JAMA. 1998;279(8):622-623. doi:10.1001/jama.279.8.622

Like the world's population, patients and physicians are living longer, leading to increased interest in how to live well and die later. The article by Fried and colleagues1 in this issue of THE JOURNAL reports historical and measured attributes as risk factors for death in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a study conducted in the homes of community-dwelling men and women aged 65 years and older who were followed up for 5 years. The authors make 2 main points: (1) disease markers or quantitative measures are better predictors of death than the medical history; and (2) older people frequently have multiple conditions rather than a single predictor of death.

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