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March 29, 1941


Author Affiliations

From the Unit on Gerontology, Division of Chemotherapy, National Institute of Health, U. S. Public Health Service.

JAMA. 1941;116(13):1383-1387. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820130045014

Most arguments arise out of confused definition of terms. It is important, therefore, to have it understood what is meant by the problems of aging. Aging must not be confused with the aged. The aged show the consequences of aging. This distinction is fundamental. The medical care of the aged constitutes the specialty of geriatrics and is of but little direct concern to industry. The truly senile are pensioned. On the other hand, gerontology, which is the science of aging,1 is of rapidly growing importance to the industrial physician. Probably the most significant period of human life from the point of view of senescence is the two decades from 40 to 60. It is here that gerontology can and should mean prophylactic geriatrics. Prophylactic pediatrics, by dramatically increasing life expectancy, has emphasized the problems of senescence. Pediatrics advanced rapidly only after attention was focused on the fact that the

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