Saturday, June 23, 2012

How we die, then and now.

A piece in The New England Journal of Medicine by Doctors Jones, Podolsky and Greene looks at the differences in how people died in the decades from 1900 to 2010. The death rate has nearly been cut in half, due in large part to the major infectious killers pneumonia, influenza and tuberculosis having been nearly eradicated. The graph on the left was nicked from a summary in the Washington Post, showing the top ten causes of death in 1900 and 2010. There are much cooler interactive graphs in the original.

If you like numbers half as much as I do, you will find this interesting.


Karlacita! said...

Whoa, the differences are startling, both in terms of what are now seen as preventable diseases, and in terms of the signs of better overall hygiene.

Karlacita! said...

In 1811, there was quinsy, intemperance, and biliousness afoot. I got the chilblains just reading it! And the interactive graph in the NEJM piece is awesome!

Matty Boy said...

And in the early 1800s, there were serious if skeptical discussions of spontaneous combustion as a cause of death, usually seen in brandy drinkers. I'll stick to wine and ale, thank you very much.