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February 22, 1985

Risk Factors for Senility

Author Affiliations

Geriatrics Institute Mount Sinai Medical Center Milwaukee


edited by Henry Rothschild (Charles F. Chapman, coordinating ed), 249 pp, with illus, $39.95, New York, Oxford University Press, 1984.

JAMA. 1985;253(8):1181. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350320107031

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This book might have been better entitled "Risk Factors for Old Age" or "for Senescence" than "for Senility." Of the 17 chapters, only four specifically concern themselves with senility, the common term used for chronic dementia. Since the book looks at risk factors for the whole aging process, rather than for just those concerned with dementia, it covers a broad field. Unfortunately, each subject is covered in a somewhat brief fashion.

The first four chapters deal with standard gerontological topics, such as a biology and the pathophysiology of aging. The chapter "Risk Factors for Senile Dementia," which best fits the title of the book, is limited to eight pages. The genetic studies on Alzheimer's disease, including studies on histocompatibility and Down's syndrome, are compressed into a one-page summary. A detailed and critical presentation and evaluation of the literature available in this area would have been useful. Conversely, the chapter on