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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, March 21, 1938, Image 11

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Differences in Physical
, Condition Cited by
; Harvard Professor.
*
By THOMAS R. HENRY.
N {The "old man," easily tired, chilled
•r* overheated, with his “patriarchial
paflor. trombone eyesight and high
tofied deafness,” promises to be a spe
eds medical problem of the future
comparable to the child at present,
Ds, Walter B. Cannon, professor of
physiology at Harvard University, told
members of the Pan-American Med
Association meeting last night at
tha home of Dr. James Alexander
■ Ljfm at Rockville.
With the average age of the popula
►Wcp steadily increasing. Dr. Cannon
aa{d, it will not be long before 20
per cent of the population will be
mare than 60 years old. While phy
sicians in the past have treated old
persons as individuals, very little at
teation has been r'-'d to the elderly
individual as an organism, with stead
. fly* increasing physiological differences
(ram the rest of the population.
The changes. Dr. Cannon said, con
sist largely in narrowing the range
of automatic adaptability to changes
in'the environment. Starting in the
104. these changes progress slowly
to the end of life. As an example, Dr.
Cannon cited the body's disposal of
ladle add. Normally there must be
a Very fine adjustment between the
acidity and alkalinity of the blood
stream. A slight variation either way
wifl throw a person into coma or con
vulsions. These almost never happen
because of the automatic adjustments.
* Cattle of “Tired Feeling.”
®very time a muscle is exercised
lactic acid is produced. It passes
lntp the blood stream where, to pre
vent too high acidity, it is combined
vritjh the slight excess of alkali, thus
restoring the balance. In the muscles
It causes “that tired feeling." To get
rid of the excess the body burns most
•f • this acid about as soon as it is
fcnjned, the combustion process chang
ing it into the highly volatile carbonic
•eld which is gotten rid of in the
breath.
This burning requires oxygen. As
One grows older the capacity to breathe
In the necessary excess of oxygen for
/uel steadily declines. The chest walls
grow more rigid, so that one cannot
take as big a breath. The blood ves
sels become more rigid through coating
bwith calcium, so that the blood stream
Is unable to carry the necessary
amount of oxygen to meet the emer
gency where it is needed. The heart
beats steadily more slowly so that
blood Is not being pumped as fast.
. Consequently the lactic acid stays
In the muscles, so that they remain
“tired.” The old man cannot go
through a period of intense exertion
and be fresh again a few minutes
later. This is one of the reasons why
an athlete's ‘Tegs go back on him,”
Dr. Cannon said. This is just a figure
of speech for the inability of the whole
body to respond quickly.
A good deal depends, he said, on
the type of sport. Hundred-yard da.sh
records, he pointed out, almost in
.variably have been held by men under
SI. '•Records for the mile, where such
hnefesive effort piling up lactic acid
quickly are not called for, are usually
held by men between 23 and 25. But
Nurmi was 31 when he made the 10
ttile record and other noted runners
of thd same distance have been in
their early 30s. Marathon records
have been made by men in their early
40«. Constantly, as age advances,
the rate of exertion must be slowed.
o*n nayerw Age.
Oonme Mack, Dr. Cannon said, co
operated with him in his study of ball
players and they agreed that it is a
ijre exception whose “legs don’t go
back on him” at about 35. The speed
of exertion in baseball seems to be
keyed to the below 35 level.
This is becoming a very serious
problem in industry, Dr. Cannon said,
because of speed machines geared to
the exertion speed of young men. A
■killed worker quickly reaches the
point where the speed of’ movement
•which was natural in his 20s is physi
ologically beyond him and he is faced
with the problem of losing his job or
having a nervous and physical break
down.
The heat production and loss of the
body. Dr. Canon said, must be bal
anced just as nicely. The organism
Is constantly producing heat, both
consciously through exertion and un
consciously by loss through the skin,
evaporation of sweat, etc. If this were
not true a person might be “cooked”
at the end of a day, and Dr. Cannon
calculated that members of a college
boat crew would be thoroughly cooked
ever about two-thirds of the course.
The old man, he said, has a con
stantly declining ability to dilate the
wrface vessels, the skin becomes less
alastie, the sweat glands do not func
tion so promptly. Hence heat loss is
alower. an old man is prostrated sooner
by exertion, and deaths from heat
strokes in hot weather are much more
frequent.
Production of Heat.
The same is true of producing heat
accessary to keep up the balance.
The bpdily organs are not functioning
•o rapidly. That is why the old per
son needs warmer clothes and likes
* *o »it by the fire, while the young folks
wonder what is the matter with him.
The atrophy and loss of elasticity in
wthe blood capillaries In the skin. Dr.
Cannon said, results in the peculiar
paleness of the aged known as "par
trtarehal pallor.” It has been estab
lished by experiment, he said, that
there is a steady loss in the ability to
•hear high tones, or short-wave sounds.
At 20 the normal ear can hear sounds
of 15,000 vibrations a second. By 60,
this ability has been reduced to hear
ing sounds of only 5,000 vibrations a
second..
Other, changes, he stressed, are in
ttis eyes which are unable to adapt
easily to distance with the result that
on old person can be seen pushing a
book backward and forward as if he
was playing a trombone. As hair be
Judicial Bouncer
JUDGE STOPS TRIAL TO TOSS
MAN OUT OF COURT.
JUDGE JOHN J. MAHER.
Judge Maher jumped from
his bench in Detroit Record
er’s Court during a trial, col
lared Raymond MacDonald,
ivho yras standing before the
bench, dragged him to the
door of the courtroom,
slapped his face and kicked
him into the corridor.
—Copyright, A. P. Wirephoto.
SPENDING IS URGED
AS DEMOCRACY AID
Taxes Must Be Paid to Keep
System Alive, Coyle Tells
Modern Forum.
Pay taxes and keep democracy alive,
David Cushman Coyle, economist asso
ciated with the National Resources
Board, urged for America last night.
The Federal Government, Dr. Coyle
said in a Modern Forum lecture, must
spend lavishly to insure the continued
existence of our form of society. He
spoke at the Washington Hotel.
“All we have to do is to spend
enough to keep our country prosper
ous. We're spending about half
enough now," he said, attributing the
current economic decline to the cur
tailed governmental expenditures.
“Taxes must be paid to run de- \
mocracies if democracies are to con- j
tinue. Unless we are willing to pay
taxes to maintain our democracy, then ;
our democracy will get what is coming
to it.
“The American people are going to
■ suffer terribly until they learn that j
it is by activity, not economizing, that ■
machines are made to produce wealth." !
The members of the panel who dis- 1
cussed Dr. Coyle's point with the j
' speaker after the prepared talk were !
Dr. George Strasser. professor of pub
lic finance at Georgetown University,
and Representative Crosser, Democrat,
of Ohio.
gins to fall from the scalp it starts
, to grow inside the ears and nose and
| over the eyes, causing the characteris- !
tic bushy eyebrows of the old.
A constant increase in the blood
pressure is to be expected. Dr. Cannon
i said. Diseases due to blood accumula
tion are more likely.
The meeting was also addressed by 1
Dr. J. J. Eller of New York, director- !
general of the Pan-American Medical i
Association, and Dr. Lee Hurd of New 1
York, who described a type of sinus
operation which produces a cure in
75 per cent of the cases of true sinus
infection.
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