1. Serial estimations of plasma (PAA) and leucocyte (LAA) ascorbic acid concentrations were made in geriatric patients in a stable phase of their illness, and compared with a similar (‘unstable’) group suffering from acute illness.
2. In the ‘unstable’ group, though PAA levels were unchanged, LAA levels were reduced.
3. In the ‘follow-up’ period of 7-8 d there was much greater variation in both PAA and LAA levels in the ‘unstable’ group.
4. Acute illness was often accompanied by an increase and then a decrease in LAA levels. Recovery was associated with an increase in LAA levels.