IN THIS month's ARCHIVES, some sort of record is broken with the publication of 8 original articles concerned with problems of the elderly, all in a single issue! One might dub it "a geriatrics issue," but this begs the point that geriatrics is a subspecialty while medical problems of the elderly have burgeoned far beyond the confines of 1 specialty group. The specialty of geriatrics became a concept as early as the turn of the past century. However, geriatrics as a recognized specialty did not really gain attention until after World War II. The ultimate blessing, a toehold at the National Institutes of Health, occurred in 1974 with the establishment of The National Institute on Aging. A proliferation of geriatrics fellowship training programs, continuing medical education courses in geriatrics, and specialty journals on geriatrics followed soon thereafter. Medicine's 20th-century problem would be solved by the new specialty.
Or would it?