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Sept 21, 1984

Handbook of Diseases of Aging

Author Affiliations

Northwestern University Medical School Chicago

JAMA. 1984;252(11):1474-1475. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350110068037

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Dr Herman Blumenthal emphasizes in his introduction that this volume is not about the basic biology of aging or clinical geriatrics. It is about "disease causality as possibly directly related to biologic aging." As such, it is a provocative and brilliant multiauthored volume containing a wealth of research and theoretical information on the relationship between aging and disease.

Dr Blumenthal hypothesizes that the aging process, at a molecular level, represents an accumulation over time of errors in intracellular information flow, with transcription and translation "mistakes," resulting in the production of misspecified proteins. These cybernetic alterations result in cellular dysfunctions, which combine with environmental risk factors to produce a high incidence of certain diseases in the elderly (cancer, arteriosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and Alzheimer's disease). Twenty-five prominent investigators thoroughly discuss these pathological states, not so much from the viewpoint of proving this hypothesis, but instead to provide an objective