Papers And Originals

Problem of the Old and the Cold

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 06 January 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:21
  1. R. H. Fox,
  2. R. MacGibbon,
  3. Louise Davies,
  4. Patricia M. Woodward


    A pilot winter study of body temperatures using new measuring techniques was tested on 72 volunteers aged 65 or more living in Portsmouth. The body temperatures were related to their environmental temperature and living conditions. No case of serious hypothermia was found, but the study confirms that elderly people have lower body temperatures and suggests that the coldest individuals tended to be the least aware of discomfort from the cold; this may well place them “at risk” for developing hypothermia.


    • * This work was one of two pilot studies preceding a major study on 2,000 elderly people in 1972. It is hoped to publish the results of the main study, which was a collaboration between the Centre for Environmental Studies (Professor D. Donnison and Mr. M. Wicks), the Medical Research Council (Dr. R. H. Fox and Miss P. M. Woodward), University College Hospital (Dr. A. N. Exton-Smith), and the Royal Free Hospital (Dr. M. F. Green), early in 1973.