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Medicine News Science

People Are Living Longer, With More Disabilities Than Ever 129

skade88 writes "Worldwide, people are living longer. Their lives are starting to look more like the lives of Americans: too much food is a problem, death in childhood is becoming less common, and so on. Yet with a population that lives through what would once have killed us, disabilities are starting to become the norm. A research report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has a good glimpse into the new emerging world we find ourselves in." The Guardian has a nice visualization of the mortality data (but take note of shifting scales on the Y-axis).
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People Are Living Longer, With More Disabilities Than Ever

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  • by RedHat Rocky ( 94208 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:51PM (#42295483)

    I'm a guy who recently had a piece of matter removed from the brain area and am still recovering six months later.

    What's your point? Better that I was already dead?

  • Well yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:00PM (#42295613) Homepage Journal

    People are dying slower.

  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:02PM (#42295677)

    "With More Disabilities Than Ever"?

    That is not necessarily so. There may just be more diagnosed and reported than ever, at least in releative terms.

    In absolute numbers, yes. But that is due to Earth's population growth...

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:17PM (#42295989) Homepage

    I'm a guy who recently had a piece of matter removed from the brain area and am still recovering six months later.

    What's your point? Better that I was already dead?

    The point is that while there has a been a great deal of success in keeping people alive, there has been little success in keeping them healthy. Even putting aside the individual pain and suffering, there are serious economic consequences. Unhealthy people produce less and require more from society. The sicker they are, the more this is true. Eventually society may have to let people die that they technically could save because they can not afford the resources to keep these people alive.

  • by blue trane ( 110704 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:28PM (#42296219) Homepage Journal

    Economics is a tool that we invented to serve us. It is not some God that we must practice human sacrifice to.

    If automation allows us to live a life where we are more free to do what we want, that's a good thing. We're closer to utopia.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:50PM (#42296583)

    What has changed is the way we see life. We see human life and teach it to our children as a problem. It's an overpopulation problem, people are evil, people are the earth's enemy, etc.

    Today we treat life as more precious than any time in our history. Up until the middle of this century, life was cheap. People regularly dying on their jobs was considered no big deal. People were left to starve or freeze if they couldn't afford to take care of themselves. We spend a fortune on the last few years of life now, before we'd just let people die. Your confused view of history makes me thing you're probably just as wrong about guns, but I don't think you should by trying to pull guns into this at all.

  • by Paracelcus ( 151056 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @08:32PM (#42297067) Journal

    Not like "the good old days" when we all ate organic food and lived to the ripe old age of forty!

  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @09:38PM (#42297651)
    Nope. Economy is a tool we invented to understand and control how limited resources are used. The resources, being limited, will exhaust themselves even if you refuse to learn Economy or believe in it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @09:42PM (#42297683)
    We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.
  • by Chewbacon ( 797801 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:16AM (#42298673)
    You can do something for someone or something to someone. I see too many people come into my ICU, many are in their golden years, having treatment turn a fatally acute encounter turn into a long unhealthy condition. What does it do for them? Nothing. What does it do to them? Torture, steals their dignity. A neuro surgeon told me something like: sometimes my job is making people's time left on earth as undesirable and expensive as possible.
  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @02:13AM (#42299193)
    No they cannot. Nobody can know what a person who died could do, but when the cost to keep everyone alive no matter how much effort and resources need to be spent for that escalates to something that can't be sustained this becomes an irrelevant point.

    Sure in the future we may be able to ban all diseases, then again we may not, but now there is so much we can do as a society and we need to weight the efforts needed, the resources compromised by these efforts and what will be left unattended as consequence.

    If you have to neglect the education of 100 people to treat a very expensive disability of a single one for life what will you choose? These are the kind of hard choices that are necessary when the resources are not infinite.
  • by ppanon ( 16583 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:28AM (#42299749) Homepage Journal
    That average life expectancy was heavily pulled down by high infant mortality, lack of antibiotics to treat nasty bacterial infections like pneumonia, and agrarian lifestyles that were both harder on the body than modern white collar work and more dangerous (scythes, angry/in-pain animals, predators, sun exposure, etc.) . If you control for those differences, what do you get? Well, we don't know because they didn't realize 250 years ago that we would find useful background histories to supplement what little mortality/morbidity statistics they did collect.
  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @06:08AM (#42300115) Homepage Journal

    Economy isn't about how limited resources are used, it is about how they are distributed and ownership. When it fails society steps in to redistribute, which is why most of western Europe has high quality social healthcare, for example.

    The reality is that most western countries have more resources than we need, they are just distributed badly due to economics.

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