This Chart Shows You How You’ll Probably Die

Wondering how you’re most likely to die? Skip the online quizzes and morbid daydreaming, and sate your curiosity with this grim government chart.

Source: This Chart Shows You How You’ll Probably Die

I just got my genetic testing back, so I have all kinds of new, way more exotic stuff to worry about. 😀

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Mortality Gap: Why Women Live Longer than Men

In every single country on the planet, women live longer than men. In response to this unpleasant fact, men are fond of replying, “That’s because we have to put up with women.” Humorous though it may be, that’s not the actual reason women live longer than men. In fact, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th Century that the “mortality gap” between men and women became so striking.

To investigate the underlying reason for the gender gap in life expectancy, a team of researchers examined mortality data for people born between 1800 and 1935 in 13 developed countries. Using this data, they were able to determine changes in the male-female mortality ratio, as well as determine when and why women began to outlive men.

Source: Mortality Gap: Why Women Live Longer than Men

The over 40 sample is great because it eliminates the two biggest gender specific dangers – childbirth and war.  I would really like to see a study comparing the life spans of childless women, compared to those with children.  One advantage of pregnancy prior to age 30 is a reduced risk of breast cancer.  But pregnancy increases risk for osteoporosis associated complications.

Friendship Is More Powerful Than We Ever Imagined

Friendship is powerful — everything from pop culture tells us so. But how powerful is it? Turns out that friendship has all sorts of properties, that include making you healthier, increasing your self-awareness and helping you accomplish way more. Here are all the ways science proves that friendship really is magic.

Source: Friendship Is More Powerful Than We Ever Imagined

The ability to predict friends based on DNA is an aspect I had not considered, but if we hope to use DNA for determining various health risks…

The aspect I didn’t catch in the article was the impact of rivals.  Sometimes friendly competitive people, sometimes not so friendly.  I remember chatting with someone who thought that Augustus could not have become the ruler he was without Mark Antony as a rival.  A more recent example would be James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Similarly, I encountered someone in my swim lane who was definitely faster than us and body language was clear – they did not think well of me.  They’d do things like surge ahead, sometimes leaving myself to lead the rest of the group, take little to no break, or even start the drill early.  But I found that it took some effort, but I was able to draft and worked to improve as the drill distances also got longer.  The rival didn’t get anything out of it, but I did – I saw that I was capable of doing more but hadn’t been getting feedback from coaches to push me.  Similarly, I have cyclists I look to for various aspects from which to learn and strive to challenge.  No such luck in running currently, but eventually.

This Treadmill Test Can Predict Your Odds Of Surviving Another Decade

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have devised a simple treadmill test and formula to calculate your odds of surviving the next ten years, and it goes like this: FIT Treadmill Score = %MPHR + 12 (METS) – 4 (age) + 43 (if female). Here’s how it works and what it means to your health.

“The notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new, but we wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender and fitness level, and do so with an elegantly simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test,” noted team leader Haitham Ahmed of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in a statement.

To create this algorithm, Ahmed’s team studied 58,020 adults from Detroit aged 18 to 96 who were being evaluated for chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, or dizziness (all of the participants were free from established heart disease). These individuals were put through exercise stress tests from January 1991 through to May 2009.

…You may also not want to evaluate yourself. As noted by Melissa Healy in the LA Times, “Do-it-yourself stress testing is probably not very reliable, since a physician or sports physiologist needs to be around to decide when to call a halt to the test (and therefore what maximum a test-taker has achieved).”

Source: This Treadmill Test Can Predict Your Odds Of Surviving Another Decade

Nuff Said?

The Brazilian ‘getting up off the floor’ test for geriatric mortality prediction is novel because it is so cheap to administer.

Your Friends Know When You’re Going to Die

There’s a troubling truth about self-knowledge and its limits: alarmingly often, when you’re faced with a big decision, you’re better off trusting the judgment of a friend – or even a stranger – than your own. To put it bluntly, you may be especially badly suited to figuring out whom you should marry, where you should live or what job you should do – precisely because you’re you.

For instance, according to a new study entitled “Your Friends Know When You’re Going To Die”, published in Psychological Science, if you want to predict the date of your death, you could do a lot worse than ask your friends. I don’t mean you should literally ask them to name a date. (That could cause some awkwardness at the restaurant table, I imagine.) But the things they know about you could still be the basis of the best estimate available.

Source: Your friends know more about your life than you do, including when you might die

Researchers found that your peers can predict your mortality, not because they’re psychic, but because a.) they know you—the real you, and the personality traits you possess (or don’t) that tend to affect longevity, and b.) there really is such a thing as crowd wisdom, if the crowd is comprised of people you know.

The study itself notes that it was conscientiousness and openness among men that predicted long life, but emotional stability and agreeableness (as rated by friends) that predicted many sunsets for women. And, in both cases, friends were better at predicting these traits than the self-reported assessments of the people themselves.

Study: Obese Lose Up to 8 Years of Life

Being severely obese can knock up to eight years off your life and cause decades of ill health, a report says.  The analysis showed being obese at a young age was more damaging to health and life expectancy.

…In comparison with 20 to 39-year-olds with a healthy weight, severely obese men of the same age lost 8.4 years of life and women lost 6.1.  Men also spent 18.8 more years living in poor health while women spent 19.1 in that state.  Moving up an age group to those in the forties and fifties, men lost 3.7 years and women 5.3 years to obesity.  Men and women in their sixties and seventies lost just one year of life to obesity, but still faced seven years in ill health.

…The pattern is clear. The more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health, as they have many years ahead of them during which the increased health risks associated with obesity can negatively impact their lives.

Source: Obese lose up to eight years of life

Related reads:

Study: Drinking Soda Pop Daily can Shorten Your Life

Researchers at the University of California — San Francisco found study participants who drank pop daily had shorter telomeres — the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells — in white blood cells. Short telomeres have been associated with chronic aging diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer

Source: Drinking pop daily can shorten your life: Study

The article is quite brief – here’s a link to the study.  They performed a cross-sectional study across ~5,000 adults, looking at the effect of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), non-carbonated SSBs, diet soda, and fruit juices. They adjusted for socio-demographic and health-related characteristics, and found that SSBs are correlated with shorter telomeres; fruit juice with longer telomeres, and no difference for diet sodas and non-carbonated SSBs.  They might have been looking at a lot of different nutrition factors and only reported those which appeared significant after the experiment (obligatory XKCD)

TLDR: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells’ Telomeres

Something else to keep in mind is that consuming crbon dioxide (CO2) rapidly, as happens when drinking carbonated beverages, leads to stomach expansion. The stomach is capable of increasing in size to accommodate a large meal but if the practice is habitual the stomach will actually grow in size permanently. There is a nerve where the esophagus meets the stomach that triggers when the stomach is full. When triggered it tells the brain to stop eating (you are no longer hungry). Studies have linked an enlarged stomach to overeating/obesity because of not feeling sated. While it may not have a direct link to obesity, there is evidence it may be indirectly linked.