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Aging Bones: A Short History of Osteoporosis (Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease) [Paperback]

Gerald N. Grob

Price: 16.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 Mar 2014 Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease

In the middle of the twentieth century, few physicians could have predicted that the modern diagnostic category of osteoporosis would emerge to include millions of Americans, predominantly older women. Before World War II, popular attitudes held that the declining physical and mental health of older persons was neither preventable nor reversible and that older people had little to contribute. Moreover, the physiological processes that influenced the health of bones remained mysterious. In Aging Bones, Gerald N. Grob makes a historical inquiry into how this one aspect of aging came to be considered a disease.

During the 1950s and 1960s, as more and more people lived to the age of 65, older people emerged as a self-conscious group with distinct interests, and they rejected the pejorative concept of senescence. But they had pressing health needs, and preventing age-related decline became a focus for researchers and clinicians alike.

In analyzing how the normal aging of bones was transformed into a medical diagnosis requiring treatment, historian of medicine Grob explores developments in medical science as well as the social, intellectual, economic, demographic, and political changes that transformed American society in the post–World War II decades.

Though seemingly straightforward, osteoporosis and its treatment are shaped by illusions about the conquest of disease and aging. These illusions, in turn, are instrumental in shaping our health care system. While bone density tests and osteoporosis treatments are now routinely prescribed, aggressive pharmaceutical intervention has produced results that are inconclusive at best.

The fascinating history in Aging Bones will appeal to students and scholars in the history of medicine, health policy, gerontology, endocrinology, and orthopedics, as well as anyone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (4 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421413183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421413181
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 1.9 cm

Product Description


Elegantly written and deeply researched, Aging Bones shows how osteoporosis went from being treated as an inevitable part of getting older to a pathological disease state. An account that traverses Shakespearean sonnets to hormone replacement therapy, Grob’s study contains important lessons for historians as well as for millions of women who are advised to stave off frailty through daily doses of Vitamin D, exercise, and estrogen.

(Beth Linker, University of Pennsylvania)

Book Description

How osteoporosis went from a normal aging process to a disease.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A search for the fountain of youth. 20 Mar 2014
By GWG - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Instead of simply a history of how and why the medical community has moved osteoporosis from a normal part of the aging process to a disease to be attacked and cured, Gerald Grob has delivered a brilliant insight into the modern search for the Fountain of Youth. Having failed to find a cure of old age in some exotic land, our aging population has turned to pharmaceuticals prescribed by a growing legion of physicians to prescribe a magical pill or potion. Having succeeded in turning menopause and osteoporosis into "treatable" diseases what is next for the medical community? I am awaiting Grob's next book to find out. This is certainly a book that all can learn from but it has special meaning for those who are or plan to be part of our aging population.
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