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Death Rates: 1950 and today

Posted by: Michael Mandel on January 16

To add a bit more fuel to the fire. Here are age-adjusted death rates in 1950 and 2004, for several important causes of death. Heart disease and strokes are way down, cancer has barely changed, diabetes and lower respiratory diseases are up

The lack of progress in cancer is disturbing. These come from the CDC…I’m going to dig around in these numbers a bit more.

Age-adjusted death rates
1950 2004
Heart disease 586.8 217.5
Cerebrovascular diseases 180.7 50.0
Malignant neoplasms 193.9 184.6
Diabetes 23.1 24.4
Alzheimer’s  ? 21.7
Chronic lower respiratory * 41.8
*Includes asthma and chronic bronchitis. 1980 value
was 28.3

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Reader Comments

Joe Cushing

January 17, 2007 07:56 AM

The lack of longer life that you are talking about is because scientists haven't finished their research on how to set the human biological clock for death. People are only designed to live for so long. so far all most of medicine has focused on the symptoms (heart disease, strokes, cancer,) instead of the cause, (our clock).

What do I mean? Our cells are only designed to divide a set number of times. After that DNA breaks down and people die. There has been some progress on this however. They made fruit flies live much longer than their clock would have them live and I think they repeated this experiment in mice.

I read this in Discover magazine and I just tried to Google it with no luck. All I get are articles talking about long life genes. I'm not talking about long life genes, I'm talking about the design of all our genes. Specifically there is a piece on the end of all your genes that breaks off with each division. When they have all broken off, you die. This means you cells can only divide so many times. Sea turtles have lots of these pieces, in fuit flies there are few, and people are in between.


January 26, 2007 03:52 AM

That why we need more medicare
but we should observe the new serious illness,
and researching.


October 23, 2008 09:17 PM

Maybe you are talking about the poly-A tail that is added onto the mRNA; it determines the longevity of the nucleotide sequence and partially consequently the ability for it to be translated into proteins that support the structure and function of life processes...

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.



Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.

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