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October 19, 1957


Author Affiliations


Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, and member of the Commission on Geriatrics, Pennsylvania State Medical Society.; Members of the Committee on Aging are Drs. H. B. Mulholland, Chairman, Charlottesville, Va.; Edward L. Bortz, Philadelphia; Henry A. Holle, Austin, Texas; Wingate M. Johnson, Winston-Salem, N. C.; Theodore G. Klumpp, New York; Frederick C. Swartz, Lansing, Mich.; and Cecil Wittson, Omaha. Committee Staff: Mr. George W. Cooley, Secretary, and Mr. Herbert B. Norton, Research Assistant.

JAMA. 1957;165(7):843-846. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.72980250013020

"Animals have shapes and forms. Only man has posture..."1 The routinely renewed achievement of the complex mechanisms of the upright posture affirms the substantial quality of this human adaptation. This evolutionary accomplishment attracted a roster of students whose observations parallel the most advanced thinking of the past three centuries. A review of these well-documented facts would serve, without novelty, only to refresh memory. The many details limited specifically to the effects of aging on posture, however, are quite a bit less a part of the common knowledge. Postural modifications in the aging body consist of a combination of changes that must occur in harmony. There are anatomic alterations in the skeleton to which the organs of the modified cavities must make accommodation. Adjustments in such contours and parenchymal contents exact a balance in physiological activities. These morphologic and reactive changes are reflected in appropriate biochemical tolerances and blood and