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Surgery of the Aged and Debilitated Patient

John H. Wulsin, MD
JAMA. 1968;205(3):189-190. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140290081036.
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Dr. Powers begins his preface with the words, "surgery of the aged is different," a dictum undoubtedly acclaimed in gerontological circles. The volume "has been designed to emphasize... the particular problems and complications associated with surgery of the aged." He introduces the main text with forceful statistics which remind us that the segment of our population 65 years and over was 9.2% in 1960 and by the year 2010 will comprise 30 million people.

The first nine chapters cover various aspects of the metabolism of the elderly and other general topics pertinent to surgical care. Particularly informative, at least to a surgeon, are the opening chapters, "The Physiology of Aging," by N. W. Shock, and "The Pathogenesis of Diseases of Senescence." In the latter, Drs. Blumenthal and Probstein suggest that diseases prevalent among the aged may result from somatic mutations which in turn produce abnormal proteins and autoimmune responses, analogous


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