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JAMA 100 Years Ago
November 3, 2010


JAMA. 2010;304(17):1962. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1544

Publication within the past three years of such works as Professor Minot's “Age, Growth and Death” and Metchnikoff's “Prolongation of Life,” and their quick acceptance by the general public, are marked manifestations of the interest which is being taken in working out a rationale which shall result in making old age pleasant to itself and profitable to mankind. All men desire long life, but no man desires old age if this means feebleness of mind and inability to work; and since the days of Solomon this has been the common meaning attached to length of days. It has been frequently proved, however, that useful work can be performed by the aged. Only recently Dr. W. A. N. Dorland, of Philadelphia, in a magazine article, made an end of the “forty-year limit” so wilfully misunderstood by the critics of the eminent sponsor for that unfortunate jest. Plato, Goethe, Victor Hugo, Michelangelo, Titian, Franz Hals, to mention only a few illustrious names of the past, accomplished great things for posterity at a time when most of us now living would have been making hurried plans in preparation for eternity.