WITHIN last two years any surgeon, merely by casual reading of the group of medical journals which a surgeon ordinarily reads, could have encountered six separate articles on peptic ulcer in the aged.1 That chance occurrence would probably not have been duplicated ten years ago or even five years ago. It is related to such a statement as that made by Zeman and Davids,2 who, writing in 1948, mentioned a woman who had been denied surgical relief for a cystocele in 1938, when she was 68, but was safely operated on for it in 1945, when she was 75. Medical literature of this sort seems to carry two implications. The first is the increase in the population of this country in persons in the upper age brackets. The second is the increasing importance of these persons to physicians in general and to surgeons in particular.
Since the turn