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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Can medical science accurately tell the age of a human being?

    Yesterday I went to a hospital to visit a friend. While returning, I witnessed an incident. An old man died in the hospital. The age of the old man was recorded as 67. The age had been earlier recorded (at the time of his admission) from his pension papers and Election I. Card. However, I heard the attending physician accusing the dead old man's son/relative about wrong information regarding his age. The physician was telling: "See, your dad was at least 75; If you would have recorded his correct age at the time of admission, the line of treatment would be different and he might have been saved".

    I started thinking. Is it possible for the medical science to accurately predict a person's actual age? And is it correct that the line of treatment changes with the age of the patient?
  • #574590
    Medical science can tell the age of a person very accurately. This is how the researchers say about the dead bodies by their DNA taste through bones and hairs.
    In this case, there may be some mismatching in voter i-card with the actual age of the person; as earlier people don't record their accurate age and when electoral identity card started they may noted down an approximate age. However, the doctors' comment is completely wrong on motive of treatment. What's wrong and unfeasible when a person's age is unknown to the parents and doctors? Isn't possible to do proper treatment without knowing the age? I'm very much confused on this doctors' verdict.

    Regards,
    Naresh Kumar
    'Every bad situation will have something positive. Even a dead clock shows correct time twice a day.'

  • #574592
    I too am wondering the same Mr. Partha Kansabanik. Recently, I heard about Swami Sivananda whose age is said to be 120 years. The Guinness Book of World Records says that oldest person alive is 115 years old. If the swami is 120 years old, why isn't he in the Guinness Book of World Records? If medical science can be used to calculate the age of a person, everyone can know whether the swami is 120 years old or not. Skeletal analysis (analysis of bones) or Dental analysis (analysis of teeth) can be used to calculate a person's age but the result won't be near accurate because biological age and chronological age are different for most persons.

  • #574594
    I think the dosage of medicine or strength of medicine changes with age, especially for very old people. So, there is a new branch, i.e., geriatric medicine. However, I am not fully sure on the issue. So, I have sought other Members' opinions.
    “Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” - Paul Terry

  • #574598
    Generally, during medical examination of the patients, the doctors are able to assess the approximate age without doing DNA testing etc. Physical examination of the body is generally considered sufficient without referring the age proof documents like matriculation certificate or voter's card or passport. Generally, the line of the treatment is decided by the medical professionals on the symptomatic basis. They take into account certain vital parameters like blood pressure, pulse rate/heart beating rate etc. to proceed ahead. They carry out a detailed physical examination of the particular body part in case so required. Often they examine the pupil of eyes also.
    In the ancient Ayurvedic and Unani systems almost full diagnosis used to be based on pulse rate only. I have read that in the past, in the absence of female Hakims , a thread used to be tied to the wrist of the female patients of the aristocratic families and the Hakim used to diagnose the ailment while sitting in another chamber by hearing the vibration of thread put close to his ears.
    The reason extended by the physician was not logical. Perhaps he was attempting to console the family by indicating a higher age of the victim.

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