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August 27, 1997

The Mature StomachStill Pumping Out Acid?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

JAMA. 1997;278(8):681-682. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550080091047

Not too long ago, conventional wisdom held that gastric acid secretion declined as part of the normal aging process. This notion prevailed even though it seemed inconsistent with the increased incidence of peptic ulcer known to accompany advancing age.1 Within the past decade, the long-held concept that gastric acid secretion normally declines with aging has been challenged by 3 prospective studies.2-4 Goldschmiedt et al2 measured fasting, food-stimulated, and gastrin-stimulated gastric acid secretion in 21 healthy young US men and women (ages, 23 to 42 years; mean, 33 years) and in 20 healthy older men and women (ages, 44 to 71 years; mean, 57 years). Surprisingly, older men had higher acid secretion rates than their younger counterparts, whereas acid secretion rates in older, postmenopausal women did not differ significantly from those in younger, premenopausal women.2

See also p 659.

Subsequent prospective studies in Australia3 and the United