Public Health 2.0

I’m preparing a talk I’m giving at the Design Academie Eindhoven (just south of Amsterdam) on Wednesday for a conference about “Questioning Time.” I’ll be speaking about health and how it relates to time. Here’s an interesting snippet about added life expectancy in years over time:

1800 – 1840 = No increase

1840 – 1880 = No increase

1880 – 1920 = +16 years

1920 – 1960 = +15 years

1960 – 2000 = + 7 years

2000 – 2010 = +2 years

So what happened between 1880 and 1960? Clean water, vaccines, and antibiotics– successful basic public health measures. They saved the kids. Save the kids and life expectancy in a population skyrockets.

And look at the minor dent modern medicine is making over the last 50 years. It’s not about modern medicine. Increasing life expectancy and happiness over the next 100 years is about reinventing public health and updating it for the 21st Century.

And don’t forget medical care (not healthcare) is bankrupting our country. And for what? So we can all live on ventilators as 90 year olds?

(see also the Hayflick Limit…the number of times a normal cell population will divide before it stops)

Also, the crude death rate per 1000 people over the age of 60 is interesting:

1953: 9.5

2010: 7.8

In other words, modern medicine has decreased death by 1.7 per 1000 lives of people over age 60 in the past 57 years. (source)