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February 24, 1962

Physiological Changes from Maturity Through Senescence

JAMA. 1962;179(8):636-638. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050080048009a

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LET US admit that our knowledge of the physiology of aging is sparse. It is a most entertaining subject to the philosopher and a most elusive subject to the laboratory investigator, nor is it a new subject to the investigator or to the philosopher. Direct measurement of the physiologic functions of primitive and complex organisms during different stages of life has defined physiologic aging in terms of quantitative and occasionally qualitative differences noted with increasing age. This approach is simple and useful, but it has not given much insight to mechanisms.

Some general concepts of the aging process are presented in recent reviews. In brief, some of these concepts are as follows: It is generally agreed that if any single aging process exists, it is unknown at this time. In lower animals the life span can be elongated by either decreasing the basal metabolism rate or the environmental temperature or

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