American Deaths Surpass 2.5 Million

U.S. Mortality Rate: Deaths Surpass 2.5 Million For The First Time:

 U.S. Mortality Rate: Deaths Surpass 2.5 Million For The First Time


U.S. Mortality Rate: Deaths Surpass 2.5 Million For The First Time

U.S. deaths surpassed 2.5 million for the first time last year, reflecting the nation’s growing and aging population. The increase of about 45,000 more deaths than in 2010 was not surprising. The annual number of deaths has been generally rising for decades as the population has swelled. “If you have an older population, of course you have more deaths,” said Qian Cai, a University of Virginia demographer who studies population trends. “That doesn’t mean the population is less healthy or less vital.” Before last year, the largest number of deaths was 2.47 million in 2008. The number of deaths can jump up or down from year to year, depending on whether there was a bad flu season or other factors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Wednesday. It’s drawn from a review of most death certificates from last year. The report found that the rate of deaths per 100,000 people actually dropped to an all-time low. That was offset by the fact that there are so many Americans — about 314 million. Other report highlights:

—U.S. life expectancy for a child born in 2011 was about 78 years and 8 months, the same as it was in 2010.

—Women aren’t outliving men as much as they used to. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes, which was nearly 8 years at its widest in 1979, remained at less than 5 years in 2011.

—The infant mortality rate dropped again slightly, to a new low of 6.05 deaths per 1,000 births.

—Heart disease and cancer remain the top killers, accounting for nearly half the nation’s deaths. But the death rates from both continued to decline.

—Death rates fell for three other leading causes: stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and kidney disease.

Flu and pneumonia became the 8th leading killer, replacing kidney disease. Also increasing were the death rates for diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, Parkinson’s disease, and pneumonitis. The rise in pneumonitis deaths is another sign of an aging population. Mainly in people 75 and older, it happens when food or vomit goes down the windpipe and causes deadly damage to the lungs. The increase in deaths is occurring at a time U.S. births have been falling for several years, but there more than enough newborns to replace Americans who die. The number of births last year was close to 4 million. Add in immigrants, and the total population is growing by 2 million to 3 million people a year.

 

Antibody prevents and cure’s flu

Single antibody found to both prevent and cure flu

Single antibody found to both prevent and cure flu

Single antibody found to both prevent and cure flu

A single antibody has been found to prevent the influenza virus from taking hold of host cells, as well as cure animals that are already infected, UT San Diego reported. Researchers from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., examined thousands of proteins in order to identify the antibody.  After analyzing the influenza virus in its 3-D crystalline form, the scientists discovered the antibody attacks a structure of the virus that is used to take hold of healthy cells. Study author Ian Wilson, a professor of structural biology at Scripps, said this discovery of focused binding has “never been seen before.” “It gives us some good idea about designs for vaccines and therapies,” Wilson said. The study involved collecting bone marrow from patients exposed to different strains of the influenza virus.  According to UT San Diego, bone marrow essentially acts as a storage facility for all the antibodies a person’s body has ever produced, so the study’s researchers knew the antibody they were looking for would be there. Next, the researchers created a catalogue of billions of flu antibodies, allowing them to pinpoint Co5 – an antibody able to bind to influenza A viruses.  Added to petri dishes of healthy cells and influenza A, Co5 stopped the cells from getting infected.  Mice studies echoed the same results, with Co5 preventing influenza in mice.  Also, when mice were given Co5 after having contracted the flu, all were cured. “Clearly, the holy grail is a universal flu vaccine, and this is another important step toward that,” Wilson said

 

H5N1 Biosecurity Threat

Deadly bird flu studies to stay secret for now.  The Virus could escape or fall into the wrong hands and be used to spark a pandemic worse than the 1918-19 outbreak:

Avian_influenza_H5N1_virus_

Avian_influenza_H5N1_virus_

 Two studies showing how scientists mutated the H5N1 bird flu virus into a form that could cause a deadly human pandemic will be published only after experts fully assess the risks, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.  Speaking after a high-level meeting of flu experts and U.S. security officials in Geneva, a WHO spokesman said an agreement had been reached in principle to keep details of the controversial work secret until deeper risk analyses have been carried out.  The WHO called the meeting to break a deadlock between scientists who have studied the mutations needed to make H5N1 bird flu transmit between mammals, and the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which wanted the work censored before it was published in scientific journals.  Biosecurity experts fear mutated forms of the virus that research teams in The Netherlands and the United States independently created could escape or fall into the wrong hands and be used to spark a pandemic worse than the 1918-19 outbreak of Spanish flu that killed up to 40 million people.  “There must be a much fuller discussion of risk and benefits of research in this area and risks of virus itself,” the WHO’s Gregory Hartl told reporters. HIGH FATALITY RATE.  The H5N1 virus, first detected in Hong Kong in 1997, is entrenched among poultry in many countries, mainly in Asia, but so far remains in a form that is hard for humans to catch.  It is known to have infected nearly 700 people worldwide since 2003, killing half of them, a far higher death rate than the H1N1 swine flu which caused a flu pandemic in 2009/2010.  Last year two teams of scientists – one led by Ron Fouchier at Erasmus Medical Center and another led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin – said they had found that just a handful of mutations would allow H5N1 to spread like ordinary flu between mammals, and remain as deadly as it is now.  In December, the NSABB asked two leading scientific journals, Nature and Science, to withhold details of the research for fear it could be used by bioterrorists.  They said a potentially deadlier form of bird flu poses one of the gravest known threats to humans and justified the unprecedented call to censor the research.  The WHO voiced concern, and flu researchers from around the world declared a 60-day moratorium on January 20 on “any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses” that produce easily contagious forms. Fouchier, who took part in the two-day meeting at the WHO which ended on Friday, said the consensus of experts and officials there was “that in the interest of public health, the full paper should be published” at some future date.  “This was based on the high public health impact of this work and the need to share the details of the studies with a very big community in the interest of science, surveillance and public health on the whole,” he told reporters.  In its current form, people can contract H5N1 only through close contact with ducks, chickens, or other birds that carry it, and not from infected individuals.  But when H5N1 acquires mutations that allow it to live in the upper respiratory tract rather than the lower, the Dutch and U.S. researchers found a way to make it can travel via airborne droplets between infected ferrets, which are considered good models of how flu viruses behave in people.  Asked about the potential bioterrorism risks of his and the U.S. team’s work, Fouchier said “it was the view of the entire group” at the meeting that the risks that this particular virus or flu viruses in general could be used as bioterrorism agents “would be very, very slim.”

Global_H5N1inHuman

Global_H5N1inHuman