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December 1, 1951


JAMA. 1951;147(14):1325-1326. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670310015004

The sociological aspects of aging are twofold—personal and social. The median age of the population as a whole is steadily rising. This is a cold and uninteresting statistical fact, credit for which is variously assigned, but in all probability most properly to scientists in medicine and related health fields and to their colleagues who have, through sanitary engineering and other devices, brought under control those environmental factors which once proved to be dangerously inimical to the maintenance of an acceptable level of personal and public health. In the setting provided by an aging population a single member of society discovers that he has lost the role of the "rugged individualist" irrevocably. He has unwittingly— one might say, perhaps involuntarily—exchanged this for the privilege of being individually rugged. If he be wise enough to avail himself of new knowledge and practices, he can attain and retain this status for more years

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