Sign In

Communications of the ACM


Faculty Can Save Lives of the Elderly

businessman faces an older woman who's using a cane

Credit: Getty Images

Grandmothers of college students are apparently so empathetic they can put their lives in danger from worrying about the welfare of their grandchildren. According to a pioneering study by Adams that discovered the Grandmother Syndrome,1 they are 10 times more likely to die the week of their grandchild's midterm exams and 19 times more likely to die during finals!

Adams offered two potential solutions, although they have drawbacks:

  1. Only orphans are allowed to attend college. Adams points out the only way to keep the current college attendance level would be to create more orphans, but that solution exacerbates the family deaths problem.
  2. Stop giving exams. While dropping exams is a short-term solution, medical schools would have to close since there would be no way to distinguish applicants. Alas, the inevitable shortage of doctors would also likely increase family deaths.


    No entries found

    Log in to Read the Full Article

    Sign In

    Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

    Need Access?

    Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

    Create a Web Account

    If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

    Join the ACM

    Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

    Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

    Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

    Purchase the Article

    Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.