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Saturday, 07 November 2009 19:14

Find your risk of dying in U.S. and Europe

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a website that predicts the probability of dying, based on 66 different health causes, in the various states of the United States versus the different countries of Europe, along with comparisons due to gender, age, and race.

The project was developed by Carnegie Mellon researchers and students.

It makes comparisons of the probability of dying in the countries of Europe versus the states of the United States for men and women, and for those of different ages and races.

Carnegie Mellon University is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Dr. Paul S. Fischbeck, a professor of Engineering and Public Policy and of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon, talks about the new website in the article “Carnegie Mellon researchers link health-care debate to risk of dying in US and Europe.”

Dr. Fischbeck, one of the coordinators of the project, states, “Many of the lifestyle choices that we make as adults have negative health consequences. But once we reach retirement age, it appears that differences in the medical systems start to favor the U.S."

He adds, "The differences between U.S. and Europe in health care expenditures could not be starker. Starting at age 65, per capita U.S. expenditures skyrocket, resulting in many hundreds of billions of dollars being spent over our European counterparts after matching population sizes."

"A shift in policy could lead to more people reaching age 65, but once there, facing a higher chance of dying. In fact, if the U.S. had Germany's death rates, we would see 150,000 more annual deaths of those over 80."

Page two shows the website developed by the Carnegie Mellon researchers.

The project was coordinated through the Carnegie Mellon Center for the Study and Improvement of Regulation, which is part of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. The CSIR “… focuses on the use of science and risk information to support and evaluate regulatory decision making.”

The new website is called “DeathRiskRankings.com.”

The website states that it provides readers with the ability to calcuate, “… your risk of dying in the next year and allows you to compare that risk to others in the world.”

The article compares, for instance, prostate cancer, in eleven European countries versus the U.S. state of Mississippi, which has the highest risk of a man dying in his 70s of prostate cancer in the United States.

A man in his 70s in Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom has a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer than a man in his 70s in Mississippi.

And, a man in Europe has two to three times the probability of dying from prostate cancer than a man in Hawaii, the U.S. state with the least risk of dying from prostate cancer.

The article goes on to discuss other such comparisons between Europe and the United States, for both men and women, and of people of various ages and ethnic backgrounds. It compares sixty-six different causes of death.

Dr. Fischbeck concludes, "When it comes to health care, there are no easy choices. We hope that adding data to the debate will help make the final policies better."

The website does warn: “It is important to remember that though the interface on this website allows for quick exploration and easy comparison of causes of death; it does not provide information as to why these differences exist. To answer those questions, medical researchers, health psychologists, and accident specialists will have to be consulted.”

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