Friday, July 6, 2012

The changing nature of human deaths

Fascinating graphics from the NEJM (via Wonkblog) that documents the changes in the profile of disease related deaths in the United States since 1900. The first graphic (see the interactive graphic in the website) clearly shows that even as death rates have fallen, heart disease and cancer have come to become the dominant causes of deaths.

Most impressively, all the most common sources of death, epidemic type diseases - pneumonia, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal infections, etc, have all been completely marginalized. However, this trend has been accompanied by an increase in the numbers of deaths due to lifestyle diseases like heart diseaes and, in particular, due to cancer.

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