Life expectancy in U.S. is slowing compared with other count

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Life expectancy in U.S. is slowing compared with other count

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:09 pm

http://www.latimes.com/health/boostersh ... 5156.story
Life expectancy has risen in the United States over the last 25 years, but it's not rising as fast as it once was. And, compared with other developed nations, U.S. life expectancy doesn't measure up.

In a report released Tuesday by the National Research Council, experts describe U.S. life expectancy as a "poor performance" compared with many other countries given the fact that the U.S. spends far more on healthcare than any other nation.

For U.S. males, life expectancy at birth increased by 5.5 years from 1980 to 2006. That's good, but it still lags behind the average life-expectancy gains of 21 other countries. For U.S. women, life expectancy at birth increased by about three years from 1980 to 2006, which also ranks much lower than other developed nations.

Why aren't Americans living the longest given the amount spent on healthcare? According to the report, about half of the gap between U.S. life expectancy and countries with higher life expectancy is due to heart-disease rates in the U.S. Moreover, among U.S. women, smoking appears to account for lower life expectancy relative to other countries.

Obesity may account for one-fifth to one-third of the shortfall in U.S. life expectancy as compared with other countries, the report states.

Though the U.S. healthcare system prolongs life, it's not nearly as effective when it comes to prevention, research said.


http://www.latimes.com/health/boostersh ... 9619.story

Life expectancy has grown, but we're spending more time sick

Life expectancy soared over the last part of the 20th century as treatments for major diseases improved and infectious diseases were quelled by vaccines and better treatment. The most recent data, however, hint that life expectancy is no longer growing. And, according to a new study, we may spend more years sick than we did even a decade ago.

In a fascinating paper published Monday in the Journal of Gerontology, noted gerontologist Eileen Crimmins and her colleague Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, both of USC, suggest that the goal of a long life marked by mostly healthy years may not be possible for most of humanity.

According to the analysis, the average age of morbidity -- which is defined as the period of life spent with serious illness and lack of functional mobility -- has increased in the last two decades. For example, a 20-year-old man in 1998 could be expected to live an additional 45 years without at least one of these diseases: heart disease, cancer or diabetes. But that number fell to 43.8 in 2006. For women, the expected years of life without a major, serious disease fell from 49.2 years to 48 years over the last decade.

The study also found that the number of people who report a lack of mobility, such as not being able to walk up steps or walk a quarter mile, has increased.

"There is substantial evidence that we have done little to date to eliminate or delay disease or the physiological changes that are linked to age," the authors wrote.

They note that the age of a first heart attack did not change from the 1960s to the 1990s. Some types of cancers have increased and diabetes rates have soared.

"Substantial strides have been made in dealing with the consequences of disease," they wrote, noting that people live longer with serious illness. But even life expectancy increases may be nearing an end, they wrote.

"We have always assumed that each generation will be healthier and longer lived than the prior one," they said. "The growing problem of lifelong obesity and increases in hypertension and high cholesterol among cohorts reaching old age are a sign that health may not be improving with each generation. . . We do not appear to be moving to a world where we die without experiencing disease, functioning loss, and disability."
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Don't believe that they say anything without a reason.
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Re: Life expectancy in U.S. is slowing compared with other c

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:46 pm

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/201101 ... n-the-rise

Jan. 26, 2011 -- Childhood leukemia and brain cancer are on the rise, and exposure to chemicals in our environment such as chlorinated solvents and the head lice treatment lindane may be partially to blame, according to experts speaking at a conference call sponsored by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

The group is seeking to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but not everyone in the scientific community agrees that chemical exposure is connected to the uptick in childhood cancers. Some suggest that improvements in diagnosing childhood cancers may also have a role.

“There are a number of chemical exposures for which the evidence is strong, including leukemia and brain cancer,” said Richard Clapp, DSc, MPH, a professor emeritus of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health, during the teleconference.

“Unequivocally the rates of these cancers have been going up for the last 20 years or more with about a 1% increase per year,” Clapp says. “It is clear that at least one complement of the cause is environmental chemical exposure. Certainly a portion [of childhood cancers] can be traced back to damage done at the cellular level from chemicals that are carcinogens.”

For example, he says, chlorinated solvents, which are used in many household products like paints, adhesives and spot removers, are strongly associated with childhood leukemia. He cites cancer clusters in Tom’s River, N.J. and Wooster, Mass., where prenatal exposure to these solvents have been linked to leukemia. Such epidemiological studies do not show causation. Instead, they show that this risk factor is associated with a higher risk for developing childhood leukemia.

Clapp also says there is a growing body of evidence linking lindane to childhood brain cancers.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Sean Palfrey, MD, a professor of clinical pediatrics and public health at Boston University, says that chemical exposures can be passed down, much like genes.

“We can eat them or drink them and they can get into our gastrointestinal tracts or we can breathe them in, touch them, and absorb them through skin and they can spread specifically to organs that they are toxic to,” he says. “They may not harm the first organ, but they may harm the blood cells related to leukemia and brain cells related to brain cancer.”

Our bodies have no idea how to detoxify these man-made chemicals or prevent them from being absorbed, he says. “We store them so when a woman gets pregnant, those stored chemicals may be released and circulate into the fetal blood and breast milk. This is a multigenerational problem so if mom is exposed, she can expose the fetus and baby.”

Exposure to any of these chemicals does not mean a person or their offspring will develop cancer. “My grandchildren as well as my children have in their lungs and bodies substances which might be able to cause cancer, but probably won’t because this is a relatively infrequent thing,” he says.

It’s more than the exposure that is linked to cancer risk. “It is timing, genetics, the way it builds up, and where it is stored,” Palfrey says. “All of these things add together to make it harmful.”

There are steps we can take today to help limit our exposures to these pesticides and toxins, he says.

“Wash your produce, eat organic fruits and vegetables, and try not to use pesticides in your home,” he says. “Don’t smoke cigarettes, and ask the doctor if a CT scan or X-ray is really necessary for your children, and take care when renovating your house, which may stir up asbestos or lead.”

Legislation, too, can help better protect children, he says. “A lot of the agents that are used in manufacturing have never been looked at in relation to humans or children,” Palfrey says. “We are pushing for more responsible legislation on the use and production of these chemicals.”

“We need to study these chemicals first, and then try to put out things that have been proven to be relatively safe,” he says. “We advocate for responsible studies before throwing something out into the environment.”

Palfrey and others who support the overhaul of TCSA call on the companies who make chemicals to test them for safety instead of relying on the Environmental Protection Agency to prove they are unsafe, as is currently the case.
Improvement in Diagnosis of Childhood Cancer

Jeff Stier, a senior fellow at the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research, points out that the diagnosis of childhood cancer is improving, which could also account for the apparent increases.

“A generation ago we might not have known that these children had cancer [and] coincidentally this is the same time period that there are having been more chemicals,” he says.

In addition, the chemicals being used today may be milder and less likely to cause harm than older broad spectrum pesticides and chemicals, he says.

“We now have a narrower spectrum of chemicals that kill only the pests or herbs that they are targeting, which is less harmful than dropping a big bomb alternative, so our exposure risk has declined as the number of chemicals has gone up,” he says. “Many of the newer chemicals are replacing chemicals with a higher risk profile.”

According to Stier, there is no good data to support the claims that environmental exposures to chemicals are causing an uptick in childhood cancers.
Don't believe anything they say.
And at the same time,
Don't believe that they say anything without a reason.
---Immanuel Kant
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