nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Record-breaking Longevity In The US. 78 Years And 2 Months

Great news, if you were born last year.

Lots of news stories today about the CDC's just-released report on life expectancy in the US.  Most articles mention that the new record for average length of life applies only to those born in 2009.

Be that as it may, there is a gold mine of information in the preliminary report.  For instance:

1.  The usual gender and ethnic gaps are still there:  you still have an advantage if female and white.

2.  Suicide made it into the Top Ten causes of death, which aced out septicemia for the 10th spot.  Living longer, but not happier, I guess.

3.  Death rates for 10 of the top 15 causes dropped.  The biggest decreases were in heart, lung, and stroke.

4.  Fewer overall deaths by 2.2%, but fewer births overall by 3.1%.  As an exercise, figure out why this alone doesn't mean that population growth will slow.

5.  Infant death rates from maternal complications and accidents went down, 7.5% and 8.5% respectively.  The overall infant death rate has fluctuated over the last 10 years.  The top three causes remain the same:  malformations, prematurity, and SIDS.

None of this data takes into consideration innovation or breakthroughs in treatment or prevention.

Just imagine what could happen if the following developments--already in the works--should prove effective:  a vaccine for all strains of influenza (#8 cause of death), pancreatic stem cell replacement for diabetics (#6), a gene therapy that reverses the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (#14).

The planet's gonna get awful crowded.

Doc D

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