Surgery News

American life expectancy reaches an all-time high of 78

September 06, 2015

This increase in life expectancy is the country's highest on record and represents a continuation of a long-running trend.

The report from the CDC is based on the deaths recorded in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for 2005 and it documents the latest trends in the leading causes of death and infant mortality.

It highlights the continuing reduction in deaths in the U.S. from the three major killers, heart disease, cancer and stroke, which is thought to be the result of better prevention efforts and medical advances in the treatments of these diseases.

The CDC says if the death rates from these leading causes of death continue to decline, more improvements in life expectancy will be seen.

The death rates for Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease, both increased approximately 5 percent between 2004 and 2005 and an increase was also seen in the infant mortality rate, but it is not considered statistically significant.

Birth defects, were the leading cause of infant mortality in 2005, followed by disorders related to preterm birth and low birthweight; Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was the third leading cause of infant death in the United States.

Black babies under age 1 remained far more likely to die than white babies.

According to earlier data the United States ranks 42nd in the world in life expectancy.

White Americans can expect to live longer than blacks, and women longer than men, says the CDC, which reflects continuing disparities.

CDC statistician Hsiang-Ching Kung, who worked on the report, says if death rates from certain leading causes of death continue to decline, continued improvements should be seen in life expectancy.

The full report is available at cdc/nchs/. Final U.S. mortality data for 2005 will not be available until next year.

The UI study suggests that mutations in SOD-1 responsible for certain forms of ALS result in hyperactive inflammatory responses in the spinal cord and brain. Excessive ROS production by Nox proteins in these hyperactive immune cells, appear to be a significant cause of cellular destruction and loss of motor neurons. Inflammation and oxidative stress are thought to play an important role in other neurodegenerative diseases besides ALS.

"These ROS signaling pathways, and specifically dysregulation of the pathways, might be a component of many types of neurodegenerative diseases," Engelhardt said. "Which means that drugs that might treat ALS by knocking down these pathways might also be beneficial for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease."

The research team now plans to look for drugs that inhibit activation of Nox1 and Nox2. They also will investigate how the SOD-1 mutation leads to hyperactivation of Nox proteins.

"The closer we get to clarifying the basic mechanism of how the ALS mutations in SOD-1 lead to hyperactivation of inflammatory Nox proteins, the easier it will be to identify drugs that will interfere with that process," Engelhardt added.

Engelhardt's research colleagues included Jennifer Marden, Ph.D., and Maged Harraz, Ph.D., who both were graduate students in Engelhardt's lab when the study was conducted; Aislinn Williams; Kathryn Nelson; Meihui Luo; and Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D., who was a UI associate professor of neurology during the study, and now is a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.

The research was funded in part by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine and the National Institutes of Health.

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