05 August 2014

Live Long and Prosper Some More

Using this data set, we can see that nearly half the increase in life expectancy at birth happened before 1950. Why might that be? The introduction of penicillin, for one. Sulfa drugs for another.

Here are the decade deltas:
40 3.2
50 5.3
60 1.5
70 1.1
80 2.9
90 1.7
00 1.6
10 1.7

The total (1930 - 2010): 19.0

44% for those that are counting. If we assert that the 1970's was anomalous, and use 1.7 as its delta, then the percentage before 1950 comes in at 47%. Getting really close to half.

So, what forms of mortality remain for which we can expect new interventions to make a real differenc? Here's a graph (from the Wiki, of CDC reporting)

If it looks a bit clipped in your page, just go to the link; it's an anchor to the graphs.

The moral of the story: cure heart disease and cancer if you want to see life expectancy to move the needle. I'll not bet on it. In FDA drug approval, there's the concept of mechanism of action (MoA). The drug sponsor has to say how the drug works. For those who propound that life expectancy increase follows tomorrow as it has to today, must needs demonstrate that the MoA still persists (how the effect happens). Of course, there hasn't been just one since 1930; there's been a whole host of interventions.

As an ex-girlfriend (the only rich one, and she left me for her husband) used to say, "the one who dies with the most toys wins!" May be, but then may be not.

This missive was mostly finished, so off to get my dead trees Times and a cuppa. Should have remembered that Tuesday is Science Times day. And, of course, a piece on longevity. Not that much is new, except that it doesn't take much sweat to be beneficial. Big Pharma can't be pleased, of course. Not a lot of money to be made in life-style changes.

As a group, runners gained about three extra years of life compared with those adults who never ran.

May be Pfizer will get a patent on running? Don't laugh. Patents on all sorts of obvious things have been granted.

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