Category Archives: Life Expectancy

Fuzzy math: O’Reilly says higher Canadian life expectancy is “to be expected” because “we have 10 times as many people”

Oh, he didn’t really say this, did he?

A viewer asked: “Has anyone noticed that life expectancy in Canada under our health system is higher than the USA?”

Bill responded:  “Well, that’s to be expected Peter, because we have 10 times as many people as you do. That translates to 10 times as many accidents, crimes, down the line.”

This argument is nonsensical.

Life expectancy is the AVERAGE survival time across a large group of similar people (in this case Canadians or Americans).  It does not matter if the U.S. has 10 times as many people.  What matters is that you are calculating the arithmetic mean.

In fact, if you take what Mr. O’Reilly is saying as true – this would drop accidents and crimes out of the equation.  He is essentially saying the U.S. has 10 times as many people so we have 10 times the number of accidents and crimes.  In other words, he is saying they are similar.

To get to the truth of why Canadians have a longer life expectancy than Americans, you’d have to look to other variables.  One important one would be the level of obesity in the two countries.  America is much worse with respect to this particular disease.

See the video clip here

Long-term survival after donating a kidney

kidney

Good news. A study by a group of researchers at John Hopkins School of Medicine indicates that people do not put their own health at risk by donating their kidney.

The study was conducted on 80,347 people who donated a kidney between April 1, 1994 and March 21, 2009.  Mortality rates were compared to a similar matched group from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).  This similar group did not donate a kidney.

“Regardless of what physiologic changes might occur in a healthy adult after kidney donation, our findings of similar  long-term survival between donors and healthy comparison patients suggest that these physiologic changes do not result in premature death.”

They feel that while further study is indicated to understand physiologic changes, their findings do not suggest that these changes result in premature death.  They also state that the current practice of live kidney donation should continue to be considered a reasonable and safe modality for addressing the profound shortage in deceased donor organs.

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/303/10/959

Oldest person in US dies in NH at age 114

Mary Josephine Ray, the New Hampshire woman who was certified as the oldest person living in the United States, has died at age 114 years, 294 days.  Ray was born May 17, 1895, in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island, Canada. She moved to the United States at age 3.

The oldest living American is now Neva Morris, of Ames, Iowa, at age 114 years, 216 days.

The oldest person in the world is Japan’s Kama Chinen at age 114 years, 301 days.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_oldest_american

King Tut and Life Expectancy

King Tutankhamun, commonly known as King Tut, ruled ancient Egypt from 1333 to 1324 BC.  King Tutankhamun became Pharaoh in 1333 at the age of nine years old and ruled until he died at the age of 19. He is a well known pharaoh today because his tomb was discovered in the early 20th century. This newsworthy finding revealed to the world a rich and historical set of artifacts. In the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week, we find out more about his possible cause of death.

“Over the years, many scholars have offered a wide variety of explanations for his early demise as well as the seemingly androgynous appearance of his face and gynecomastia portrayed in sculptures and other relics. These diagnoses have included Marfan syndrome, Wilson-Turner X-linked mental retardation syndrome, Fröhlich syndrome (adiposogenital dystrophy), Klinefelter syndrome, androgen insensitivity syndrome, aromatase excess syndrome in conjunction with sagittal craniosynostosis syndrome, and Antley-Bixler syndrome or one of its variants.”

“Although no evidence was found to confirm a diagnosis of either Marfan or Antley-Bixler syndromes, Tutankhamun did have juvenile aseptic bone necrosis of the left second and third metatarsals, which may be consistent with Köhler disease II or Freiberg-Köhler syndrome. Moreover, this orthopedic disease process appears to have been flourishing at the time of his death. Perhaps most interesting was the DNA evidence of Plasmodium falciparum in many of the royal mummies—including Tutankhamun’s. Indeed, this finding constitutes the oldest genetic proof of malaria in well-dated mummies. On the other hand, no evidence of bubonic plague, tuberculosis, leprosy, or leishmaniasis was found.”

So what is a Köhler disease? It is a rare bone disorder of the foot. It is often found in children below the age of 10.  It can cause pain and swelling in the foot and cause a limp.  It can usually be treated today, but in ancient times Mr. Tut likely suffered with the problem and may have used a cane as a result.

Mr. Tut’s autopsy appears to have revealed several inherited disorders that led to an inflammatory, immunosuppressive, and weakened condition.  With Malaria and a sudden fracture of his leg, this likely progressed to a life threatening condition.

Life Expectancy of an Egyptian at birth in that era: ~25
Survival Time of Mr. Tut:  19 years