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October 26, 1984

Youngest institute addresses aging problems

JAMA. 1984;252(16):2315-2322. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160179052

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The youngest member of the NIH—established just ten years ago this month—is concerned with the oldest members of this country's population. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has responsibility for "biomedical, social, and behavioral research and training related to the aging process and diseases and other special problems and needs of the aged."

According to NIA Director T. Franklin Williams, MD, an energetic 62-year-old who came to the institute in July 1983 from the University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center, where he was codirector of the Center on Aging, there are more people alive today over age 65 than ever before. There were 26 million people in this category in 1980.

In the next 15 years, the number of Americans over age 85 is expected to double, resulting in approximately 5.4 million persons by the year 2000 who, says Williams, "will need some form of help because they are subject