Geriatric medicine is a critically important specialty in a world in which population aging is already a demographic reality in many countries and a future certainty in others. Past and anticipated advances in geriatric medicine will continue to save lives and help to manage the degenerative diseases associated with growing older,13,14 but these interventions only influence the manifestations of aging--not aging itself. The biomedical knowledge required to modify the processes of aging that lead to age-associated pathologies confronted by geriatricians does not currently exist. Until we better understand the aging processes and discover how to manipulate them, these intrinsic and currently immutable forces will continue to lead to increasing losses in physiological capacity and death even if age-associated diseases could be totally eliminated.15,16,17,18,19,20
13Cassel CK, Cohen HJ, Larson EB, Meier DE, Resnick NM, Rubenstein LZ, Sorensen LB. (Eds.). Geriatric Medicine. New York: Springer; 2001.
14Evans JG, Williams FT. (Eds) Oxford Textbook of Geriatric Medicine. Oxford University Press, Oxford; 2001.
15Hayflick L. How and Why We Age. 1994. Ballantine Books: New York.
16Medina J. The Clock of Ages. Why We Age How We Age Winding Back the Clock. 1996. Cambridge University Press.
17Gosden R. Cheating Time: Science, Sex, and Aging. 1996. W.H. Freeman & Co.: New York.
18Bailey AJ. Molecular mechanisms of ageing in connective tissues. Mech Ageing Dev. 2001;122:735-755.
19Bailey AJ, Sims TJ, Ebbesen EN, Mansell JP, Thomsen JS, Moskilde L. Age-related changes in the biochemical and biomechanical properties of human cancellous bone collagen: Relationship to bone strength. Calcif Tis Res. 1999;65:203-210.
20Wick G, Jansen-D_rr P, Berger P, Blasko I, Grubeck-Loebenstein B. Diseases of aging. Vaccine. 2000;18:1567-1583.
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