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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Superbug Scourge

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Bacteria
Reuters has a story about how anti-biotic resistant pathogens are killing untold numbers of people. It's long and involved. I read the first few paragraphs. Yes, there is a problem. Yes, there are many horror stories. Yes, the government is incompetent. That's what you get with a democracy. Shoot, that's what you get with any kind of government since all governments are made of people. All problems will be solved when our new robot overlords arrive and take control.

Problem I have with death statistics is they don't discriminate on matters of age or predicted life span. For instance, I would consider a disease that kills 10,000 young adults every year to be much more serious than one that kills 10,000 people over the age of 75. And what about cases with multiple contributing factors? How much should you worry about a disease (besides cancer) that kills 10,000 people who already have stage 4 cancer?

I'm thinking these kind of statistics need to be adjusted by the expected lifespan of those involved. Subtract their age at death from their nominal expected lifespan to get the number of years lost. Say that our expected life span is 75 years, then the deaths of 10,000 young adults with an average age of 25 would be reported as 500,000 years lost, whereas the deaths of 10,000 people 70 years old would be reported as 50,000 years lost.

Via Detroit Steve

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