The Gerontologist, Vol 36, Issue 1 113-117, Copyright © 1996 by The Gerontological Society of America
Normal versus pathological aging: knowledge of family practice residents
SC Beall, LA Baumhover, AJ Maxwell and RE Pieroni
Center for the Study of Aging, The University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa 35487-0326, USA.
Family physicians may lack discriminatory ability to differentiate normal
aging from disease states. To assess such ability, 53 aging- related
indicators or symptoms were presented to 65 physicians in three family
practice residency programs. Respondents classified each symptom as normal
aging or disease. On average, residents classified 73.4% of symptoms
correctly. They were more likely to classify disease states correctly
(80.0%) than to classify signs of normal aging correctly (66.8%).
Misattribution of normal aging signs as disease may prompt physicians to
overmedicate and overtreat patients, resulting in adverse clinical