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February 1985


Author Affiliations

Huntington, WVa

Orange, Calif

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(2):372. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360020216056

—As mentioned by Drs Berk and Smith, it is difficult to define the characteristics that constitute an elderly population in part because the onset of underlying diseases associated with old age occurs at varying times in different populations. For various socioeconomic reasons, the population cared for at our two institutions may be composed of patients with more severe underlying diseases at an earlier age. We chose to group patients aged 50 years or older for the above reason, for the reason that previous series of patients with meningitis do not have a uniform age definition for the elderly population, and because the larger number of patients in the group 50 years of age or older (group 1) allowed us to compare these patients with the younger age group (15 through 49 years, group 2) more easily utilizing statistical measures.1

Both the age 50 through 64 years and the 65