The word geriatrics, like many expressive medical terms, is derived from the Greek. Masters introduced it in a thesis in 1914. It was suggested by the name of a council of twenty-eight wise elders known as a "gerousia." It is said that to these men "Religion lent an aura and wisdom a shield; what they had accumulated lent wisdom to their heirs." More specifically, the word is compounded from "geron," meaning "old man," and "iatrikos," meaning "medical treatment."
In 1925 Williams featured the endocrine lapses in senescence, and the freudian considerations of personality changes led to much popular discussion of glandular transplants and the surgery of the Voronoff and Steinach school. The turn of the century witnessed much enthusiasm over curtailing "autointoxication" through diet and unwise limitation of proteins. Prof. A. S. Warthin carried to a depressing ultimate an analysis of the simple running down of the clock, or "senescence."