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April 6, 1979

Geriatric Endocrinology

Author Affiliations

Douglas Hospital Montreal

JAMA. 1979;241(14):1511-1512. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290400065033

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One of the common obstacles that the reader of geriatric studies confronts is the lack of a common language: what is the age of a geriatric patient, what life-period has the author in mind when he speaks about aged, elderly, aging, and old persons. Data concerning blood pressure, body weight, and particularly blood concentrations of hormones when presented without a clearly defined life-period might lead to confusion. It is well known that bone loss is considerably lower in the elderly than in those in the early postmenopausal period. Anatole France, quoted by Greenblatt in the introduction, says, "we are already old when we are born"; but what has this statement to do with geriatric endocrinology or with the author's remark about man's age in the antediluvial era in which "Methusaleh lived 600 years, and Noah, surviving the flood, lived 900 years. The life span in the postdiluvial era is more