Overall mortality goes down

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 7, 2008

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The age-adjusted death rates for the general population decreased from 2005 to 2006 and went down for 11 of the 15 leading causes of death, according to Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2006 issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month.

The overall death rate declined from 799 per 100,000 to 776, and fewer died from heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular issues, chronic respiratory conditions, accidents, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, septicemia, suicide, chronic liver disease and hypertension. Life expectancy also increased to a record high of 78.1 years.

But death rates for Alzheimer's, kidney conditions, Parkinson's and homicide were unchanged, and patient advocates seek more resources to tackle them. Activists are particularly concerned about Alzheimer's because it has bypassed diabetes and become the sixth leading cause of death. The aging of the population is expected to continue to make this an increasingly common problem.

"It is vitally important that we increase Alzheimer's research funding to slow or stop the progression of this devastating disease," said William Thies, PhD, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Assn.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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