Jan 30, 2020

U.S. life expectancy rises slightly

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

On average, an infant born in 2018 year is expected to live about 78 years and eight months, the CDC says in a report out Thursday.

The big picture: That's up one month from the year before — the first time in four years that U.S. life expectancy has risen, AP reports.

  • For males, it's about 76 years and 2 months. For females, 81 years and 1 month.

Why it matters: The rise is due to lower death rates for cancer and drug overdoses.

The state of play: For decades, U.S. life expectancy was on the upswing, rising a few months nearly every year. But from 2014 to 2017, it fell slightly or held steady. That was blamed largely on surges in overdose deaths and suicides.

  • Suicides continued to increase in 2018, as did deaths from the flu and pneumonia during what turned out to be an unusually bad flu year. But declines in some other causes of death — most notably cancer and drug overdoses — were enough to overcome all that.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Opioid death rate in the U.S. decreased in 2018

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Opioid deaths in the U.S. decreased in 2018 after years of steady increases, while the U.S. life expectancy ticked up for the first time in four years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Between the lines: The effort to combat the opioid epidemic appears to be working, although the problem is far from solved.

Go deeperArrowJan 31, 2020 - Health

More than 100 children have died from the flu so far this season

Influenza vaccine. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

105 children have reportedly died in the U.S. from the flu, the highest so far this season, per data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Health officials typically treat a high rate of seniors, a vulnerable population during flu season, but this year, children and young adults have been more susceptible.

Go deeperArrowFeb 21, 2020 - Health

Scientists map out and "carbon date" cancer genomes in huge studies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An international collaboration of scientists announced Wednesday they have mapped out the cancer genome and also developed a new method of "carbon dating" cancer tumors to determine what and when mutations occurred that led to a person's cancer.

Why it matters: This meta-analysis of the whole genome is the first building block of a knowledge base that the scientists hope will help clinicians determine the precise treatment needed by individual patients — assuming the costs of sequencing and running algorithm programs continue to decline.

Go deeperArrowFeb 6, 2020 - Science