October 1964

The Challenge of Old Age

Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(4):555-557. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860100137019

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"Out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer" (Judges V, 14)

Gleanings From the Commonplace Book of a Medical Reader

The growing importance of chronic disease as the cause of illness, of disability, and of death has changed, to a degree that we hardly realize, the outlook, the character, and the methods of contemporary medical practice. It used to come as a shock to me to note, after the morning "rounds" on a medical ward, that nearly all the patients that I had seen were over seventy years of age. The cold statistics bear out that impression. Chronic disease, we are told, is now responsible for three quarters of all deaths, whereas seventy-five years ago the toll from this source was only approximately one fifteenth of the total mortality.

Any discussion of chronic disease at once brings up the question of its correlate, old age. And here

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