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The Practice of Geriatrics

Don Riesenberg, MD
JAMA. 1987;257(15):2094-2095. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390150110051.
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Publication of The Practice of Geriatrics raises several questions: How does a text on geriatric medicine differ from, say, one on internal medicine? What is the role of a shorter work (only 617 pages, compared with 1168 and 992 for the two others considered below)? And, finally, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this new book from Evan Calkins, MD, two coeditors, and 65 contributors?

The editors anticipate these questions in the introduction, where it is stated that "... the structure and physiology of cells and organs of persons of advanced age are as different from those of a person of mid-life as an adult is different from a young child." One has only to digitalize, catheterize, or "surgerize" an elderly patient to learn the great truth of that statement.

It is this emphasis on fragility, altered physiology, and rehabilitation that distinguishes works in geriatrics from those in many other


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