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October 3, 1942

The Care of the Aged (Geriatrics)

JAMA. 1942;120(5):409. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830400083035

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A new specialty devoted to the care of the aged is called geriatrics. Pediatrics and geriatrics are what might be called "horizontal" specialties in contrast to such "vertical" specialties as ophthalmology, dermatology or gynecology, which are devoted to disease of restricted anatomic structures or regions at any age. Certain diseases or degenerations have been compartively neglected in the aged. If they could be brought into focus and properly studied only by the development of a group of specialists particularly interested in such problems there would be ample justification for a new specialty. At present there seems little evidence to indicate that the problems peculiar to the aged cannot be investigated satisfactorily by physicians adequately trained in general practice, internal medicine, neurology and other fields without resort to a new "specialty." The material in this book which is strictly applicable to the aged could be compressed into a fraction of the

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