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February 3, 2010

Caring for an Aging Population: Call for Papers

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dr Winker (margaret.winker@jama-archives.org) is Deputy Editor and Dr DeAngelis is Editor in Chief, JAMA.

JAMA. 2010;303(5):455-456. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.46

The aging of the world population will affect not only societies worldwide, but health care professionals who care for them, the families of aged adults, and of course the aged individuals. According to the United Nations, “Population ageing is unprecedented, without parallel in the history of humanity. . . . By 2050, the number of older persons in the world will exceed the number of young for the first time in history.” The number of individuals worldwide aged 60 years or older will increase from 1 in 10 currently to 1 in 5 by 2050.1 In addition, the causes of death among older adults are changing. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2006 to 2007, the most recent data available, declines in age-adjusted death rates in the United States were observed for influenza and pneumonia (8.4%), homicide (6.5%), unintentional injuries (5%), heart disease (4.7%), stroke (4.6%), diabetes (3.9%), hypertension (2.7%), and cancer (1.8%). Alzheimer disease rose from the seventh to the sixth leading cause of death from 2006 to 2007.2