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Even Before COVID, Many More People Died Early in U.S. Versus Europe

Americans were living shorter lives and dying at a significantly higher rate than the citizens of wealthy European countries even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a new study reports.

The United States suffered more than 400,000 excess deaths in 2017 alone, pre-COVID, compared to the combined populations of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Wales, said senior researcher Samue...

One Good Way to Help Beat COVID: Exercise

Exercise guards against a host of chronic diseases that can plague people as they age, but can it also protect against severe cases of COVID-19?

New research suggests that's so: Being physically active reduced COVID-19 patients' risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and death, and even being just somewhat active provided some protection.

"This is a wake-up cal...

Despite Pandemic's Toll, Many Older Adults Don't Have Living Wills

As the coronavirus pandemic continues in the United States, less than half of older Americans have legally stated their wishes should they become seriously ill, a new survey finds.

People 50 and older are at increased risk for severe COVID-19, and the pandemic may be an opportunity for them to discuss health care issues with their family and document their preferences if they suffer sever...

About 40,000 U.S. Children Have Lost a Parent to COVID-19

More than 40,000 U.S. kids have lost a parent to COVID-19 and the long-term impacts could be severe, experts warn.

Americans under age 65 account for about 1 in 5 COVID deaths. Of those, as many as 15% involve someone in their 40s and 3% someone in their 40s.

"In these younger age groups, substantial numbers of people have children, for whom the loss of a parent is a potentially dev...

COVID Drove 23% Spike in U.S. Deaths In 2020

COVID-19 was the major cause of a nearly 23% increase in U.S. deaths during the last 10 months of 2020.

Researchers noted that the rate of excess deaths in the United States -- those above the number that would be expected based on averages from the previous five years -- tends to be consistent at about 1% to 2% a year.

But between March 1, 2020 and Jan. 2, 2021, excess deaths rose ...

Heart Disease Gaining on Cancer as Leading Cause of Death in Young Women

Heart disease is gaining on cancer as the leading cause of death among American women under 65.

"Young women in the United States are becoming less healthy, which is now reversing prior improvements seen in heart disease deaths for the gender," said Dr. Erin Michos, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She's the co-author of a new study that inv...

CDC Confirms COVID as Third Leading Cause of Death in 2020

In a finding that illustrates the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on America, a new government report confirms that COVID-19 became the third leading cause of death in 2020.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that more than 547,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19 since the pandemic began last spring. Only the two long-term biggest killers, hea...

Research Reveals How Aspirin Helps Prevent Colon Cancer

New research offers insight into why regular, long-term use of low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of death from colon and rectal cancers.

Resarchers found that aspirin prevents blood cells called platelets from producing an enzyme that allows them to clump together. Tumor cells can attach to these clumps and spread (metastasize) throughout the body.

"Aspirin inhibits platelet act...

California's Tougher Diesel Emissions Rules Cut Related Deaths in Half: Study

California's strict limits on diesel air pollution appear to have paid off.

Since the limits were added in 1990, diesel exhaust-related deaths have been halved, with the largest reductions in deaths seen in lower-income communities, a new study finds.

By 2014, California saw a 78% decrease in diesel emissions, while diesel emissions in the United States fell by only 51...

'Zombie Genes' Spur Some Brain Cells to Grow Even After Death

When people die some cells in their brains go on for hours, even getting more active and growing to gargantuan proportions, new research shows.

Awareness of this activity, spurred on by "zombie genes," could affect research into diseases that affect the brain.

For the study, researchers analyzed gene expression using fresh brain tissue collected during routine surgery and found that...

Nearly All Seniors Take Meds That Raise Their Odds of Falling

Among older Americans, deaths from falls are up sharply, dovetailing with a surge in use of medications that increase the risk of falling, researchers say.

Two decades ago, about 57% of U.S. seniors took medications that increased their risk of falls. By 2017, that number had risen to 94%, and deaths caused by falls had more than doubled, a new study found.

The medications are meant...

Men Worldwide Have Shorter Life Spans Than Women

Why are men over 50 around the world 60% more likely than women to die early?

Two big reasons are higher rates of smoking and heart disease, according to a large new study.

The findings are based on an analysis of data from more than 179,000 people in 28 countries. Fifty-five percent were women.

Researchers examined how socioeconomic (education, wealth), lifestyle (smoking, al...

Is It Safe to Have Surgery Soon After a COVID Diagnosis?

If you have surgery scheduled and you just found out you are infected with COVID-19, new research suggests you should push your operation back by at least seven weeks.

Why? Because not doing so could raise your risk of postoperative death, British scientists warn.

"We found that patients operated [on] 0 to 6 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosis are at increased risk of postope...

Obesity a Big Risk Factor for Severe COVID-19, Study Confirms

Yet another study confirms what doctors have long known: Being obese greatly raises the odds that if you contract COVID-19, your case could be a severe one.

The study, from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, supports calls for obese Americans to move to the head of the line for protective vaccines.

"These findings highlight clinical and public health...

COVID Death Rates 10 Times Higher in Countries Where Most Are Overweight: Report

THURSDAY, March 4, 2021 (Healthday News) -- In a finding that suggests overweight people should be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines, a new report released Thursday shows the risk of death from coronavirus infection is about 10 times higher in countries where most of the population is overweight.

The World Obesity Federation report found that 88 percent of deaths due to COVID-19 in t...

Heart Attack More Likely to Kill Instantly in People Who Don't Exercise

Heart attack patients are less likely to die on the spot if they have been physically active, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 28,000 people in Europe who suffered a heart attack in order to see how active or more 'couch potato' lifestyles affected their risk of death.

They found that about 18% of patients died within 28 days of their heart attack. ...

Handgun Ownership Raises Odds for Gun Suicide

Owning a handgun increases a person's risk of firearm-related suicide more than owning a shotgun, a new study finds.

Researchers surveyed surviving loved ones of 121 gun owners who had died by suicide, including 93 who died by a firearm and 28 by other means.

The survey respondents were asked about the types and numbers of firearms the person who died had owned.

According to t...

ICU Bed Shortages Could Mean More COVID-19  Deaths

A lack of ICU beds and other resources was linked to a higher rate of deaths among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the early stages of the pandemic in the United States, researchers say.

The investigators analyzed data collected from more than 4,400 hospitals nationwide from March 1 to July 26, 2020, and found that fewer resources per COVID-19 patient -- including intensive care unit (I...

Speeding on U.S. Roads Is Taking Thousands of  Teenagers' Lives

Nearly half -- 43% -- of all fatal car crashes involving teens and their passengers are the result of speeding, a new automobile safety report reveals.

The finding stems from an in-depth analysis of all fatal motor vehicle accidents across the United States between 2015 and 2019. During this five-year period, 4,930 teen drivers and passengers died in crashes involving speeding.

And ...

Race Affects Outcomes for Young Heart Transplant Patients

Heart transplants may be particularly risky for young Black Americans, with new research suggesting they are twice as likely to die after they receive their new organ.

To reach that conclusion, researchers analyzed the outcomes of nearly 23,000 adults, aged 18 to 80, who had a heart transplant in the United States between 2005 and 2017.

Compared to other heart transplant recipi...

What's Killing Detainees at U.S. ICE Facilities?

Thirty-five detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities have died since April 2018, often because of preventable causes, such as COVID-19, flu and suicide, according to a new study.

One of them was a Mexican citizen who had first entered the United States two decades ago. He died after a month in custody.

Medical records indicated the 54-year-old man appea...

Women More Prone to Nighttime Cardiac Arrest Than Men

Going into cardiac arrest at night can be particularly deadly, and now new research suggests that it might strike women more than men.

Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction that causes the heart to stop beating. The survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is only 10%, the researchers said.

"Dying suddenly during nighttime hours is a perplexing and devastat...

Even When Cancer Is in Remission, Patients' Risks of Severe COVID Rise

Your cancer has gone into remission, so you breathe a sigh of relief as you try to navigate the coronavirus pandemic safely.

Not so fast, says new research that finds even cancer patients in remission still have a high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.

Previous studies have shown that cancer patients who have active disease or are hospitalized are at increased risk of ...

Meth Overdose Deaths Are Surging in America, With Minorities Most at Risk

Deaths from overdoses of methamphetamine are rising across the United States, especially among Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives, a new study warns.

"While much attention is focused on the opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis has been quietly, but actively, gaining steam -- particularly among American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are disproportionately affected by a number ...

When ICUs Near Capacity, COVID Patients' Risk for Death Nearly Doubles

When intensive care units are swamped with COVID-19 patients, death rates may climb, a new study finds.

Looking at data from 88 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, researchers found a pattern: COVID-19 patients were nearly twice as likely to die during periods when ICUs were dealing with a surge of patients with the illness.

The results, experts said, do not necessar...

COVID Pandemic Shortened U.S. Life Expectancy by More Than a Year

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly shortened life expectancy in the United States, especially among Black people and Hispanics, a new study says.

With more than 336,000 COVID-19 deaths nationwide last year, researchers decided to examine the pandemic's impact on life expectancy.

The projection: Due to pandemic deaths, life expectancy at birth for Americans will shrink by 1.13 years...

Smoking Plus Vaping Just as Deadly as Smoking on Its Own: Study

Smokers who swap some traditional cigarettes for the electronic kind may not be doing anything to protect their arteries, a new study hints.

People who smoke sometimes use "e-cigarettes" in a bid to get a nicotine fix without inhaling tobacco. But little is known about the effects of e-cigarettes on the risk of heart disease -- the top killer of smokers.

That's because heart disease...

Police Use of Neck Restraint Never Medically Appropriate, Neurologists Say

Despite training that teaches police officers to use neck restraints, there is no medical justification for the tactic, three neurologists write in JAMA Neurology.

The killing of George Floyd, who died in May 2020 after an arresting police officer pressed a knee to his neck for more than eight minutes, helped spark a nationwide conversation about racial injustice.

While Fl...

COVID Patient Survival Falls When Local Area Has Higher Caseload: Study

"Flattening the curve" could be key to reducing deaths among people hospitalized with COVID-19, a new study of U.S. hospitals suggests.

Researchers found that COVID-19 patients' survival odds depended not only on their age and overall health. It also depended on the hospital and the surrounding community.

At hospitals in counties where the infection was spreading quickly, death rate...

U.S. Life Expectancy Rose in 2019, But 2020 Will Reverse That Trend


Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, life expectancy in the United States rose in 2019 for the second year in a row, according to two new federal government reports.

But don't expect that good news to be repeated in 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 and other ills are projected to boost the death rate by 15% to exceed 3 million deaths for the first time in U.S. history, according to the...

First 10 Days After Hospital Discharge Especially Risky for COVID Survivors

Being discharged from the hospital following a serious bout of COVID-19 is far from a clean bill of health, new research warns, and the risk of rehospitalization or death peaks early.

In the study, more than one-quarter of such patients ended up back in the hospital or died in the weeks after discharge. The researchers tracked almost 2,200 U.S. veterans discharged at 132 VA hospitals this...

COVID-19 Is Far More Lethal, Damaging Than Flu, Data Shows

COVID-19 is far more harmful and deadly than the seasonal flu, new studies confirm.

Researchers analyzed U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs data on more than 3,600 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Feb. 1 and June 17 of this year, and more than 12,600 hospitalized with the flu between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2019. The average age of patients in both groups was 69.

The d...

329 Americans Are Injured by Guns Every Day: Study

Firearm injury is a major health crisis in the United States and new research sheds more light on how many of those who are injured survive and the circumstances of their shootings.

For the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University analyzed nationwide data from death certificates and emergency room visits.

Between 2009 and 2017, the United States...

Sudden Death More Common Than Thought in Very Young With Epilepsy

Sudden, epilepsy-related death is more common than thought in infants and children, a new study suggests.

It also found that Black and multiracial youngsters are at higher risk for what's known as sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

It occurs in otherwise healthy people with epilepsy, most often when they're asleep or resting.

Researchers analyzed data on 1,769 infant...

CDC Director Warns of Dire Winter Ahead for COVID Hospitalizations, Deaths

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that the coming winter months might be the darkest period yet in the coronavirus pandemic.

"I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told the Chamber of Commerce Foundation on Wednesday morning, adding that ...

Should Cancer Survivors Be Prioritized for COVID Vaccine?

Cancer survivors have higher odds of dying from seasonal flu, suggesting they may also be at increased risk from COVID-19 and may need to be among the first in line for vaccination against both diseases.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analyzed medical data from more than 630,000 people in the United Kingdom between 1990 and 2014, including more than 10...

U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Top a Quarter Million

The United States crossed a grim threshold on Wednesday: More than 250,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.

With coronavirus cases on the rise in all but one state, that number is only going up.

Without a national plan of attack, mayors, school board and governors have been issuing new social distancing restrictions and mask mandates as they try to slow the relentless spread o...

U.S. Leads Wealthy Nations in Pregnancy-Related Deaths

American women are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in other wealthy countries -- and a national shortage of maternity care providers bodes ill for the future.

Those are some of the findings from a new report on maternal mortality by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, which compared the United States with 10 other high-income nations.

It found what the r...

Losing a Sibling a Common Tragedy in Poorer Nations, Study Finds

The loss of a sibling is all too common among young women in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study.

The researchers found that roughly one-third of young women in those countries have experienced the death of a brother or sister by age 25. In several African nations, the rate is as high as 50%.

"There's extensive social science research on family dynamics and ch...

Losing a Sibling a Common Tragedy in Poorer Nations, Study Finds

The loss of a sibling is all too common among young women in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study.

The researchers found that roughly one-third of young women in those countries have experienced the death of a brother or sister by age 25. In several African nations, the rate is as high as 50%.

"There's extensive social science research on family dyn...

Kidney Trouble Greatly Raises Odds for Fatal COVID-19

COVID-19 patients who have kidney disease or whose kidneys are damaged by the virus have a much higher risk of dying from the illness, a new study suggests.

Researchers who studied 372 patients admitted to four intensive care units (ICUs) in the United Kingdom found that even those who had less severe kidney disease to start, as well as patients whose kidney disease was caused by the...

In Medieval Times, Plagues 'Sped Up' With Each New Outbreak

Medieval plague outbreaks in England picked up frightening speed in the 17th century, Canadian researchers report.

Their analysis of historical documents covering 300 years showed that outbreaks of the plague doubled every 11 days in London during the 1600s, compared to every 43 days in the 14th century.

"It is an astounding difference in how fast plague epidemics grew," sai...

Women at Higher Risk When Heart Attack Strikes the Young

Younger women who suffer a heart attack are more likely than men to die in the decade after surgery, a new study finds.

It included more than 400 women and nearly 1,700 men, average age 45, who had a first heart attack between 2000 and 2016.

During an average follow-up of more than 11 years, there were no statistically significant differences between men and women for deaths...

COVID-19 Taking Huge Toll in Excess U.S. Deaths

A pair of new studies assert that the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a disaster, causing more deaths than thought and prolonging Americans' suffering more than any other country.

The United States experienced a 20% increase over expected deaths between March and August 2020, with more than 225,500 people needlessly dying, said the lead researcher on the first stud...

Overdose Deaths From Cocaine Rising Dramatically

While opioids were grabbing the headlines, cocaine overdose deaths in the United States have marched upward, nearly tripling over five years, a new government report shows.

After a period of stability, cocaine-induced deaths rose by about 27% per year, on average, from 2013 through 2018, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"While mu...

Do Minority Kids Face More Danger During Surgeries?

Black children are more than twice as likely as white kids to die from surgical complications, and minority children are about half as likely to even have surgery as white children, two new studies show.

In one study, researchers found that of nearly 277,000 children who had inpatient surgery between 2012 and 2017, 10,425 suffered a complication that required follow-up surgery and 209...

Alcohol-Linked Deaths Rise Sharply in Rural America

In rural America, drinking has become particularly deadly for many, a new government report shows.

Deaths related to alcohol use in those regions rose 43% between 2006 and 2018, health officials reported.

Over that time, the rate of deaths went from 11 per 100,000 people to 15 per 100,000. Also, the rate of deaths among women more than doubled, according to researchers ...

Mental Health Issues Double the Odds of Dying With COVID-19, Study Finds

People suffering from a psychiatric disorder could be more than twice as likely to die if they become infected with COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Folks diagnosed with any type of psychiatric problem -- anxiety or depression, dementia, psychosis -- were up to 2.3 times more likely to die in the hospital from COVID-19, researchers found.

"Those who had COVID who had a prior ...

Women Get Worse Care for Heart Attack

Young women who suffer a particularly deadly condition after a heart attack are 11% more likely to die from it than men, a new study finds.

Not only that, women aged 18 to 55 are less likely to receive the tests and aggressive treatment that men routinely receive, and are more likely to die in the hospital, the researchers added.

"It's very difficult to understand exac...

COVID-19 Patients Rarely Survive Cardiac Arrest: Study

Folks whose hearts stop due to a severe case of COVID-19 are very unlikely to leave the hospital alive, a new study shows.

Out of 54 patients at a Michigan hospital who suffered cardiac arrest while battling COVID-19, none survived their illness even though 29 were resuscitated by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the researchers reported.

"I don't think we can say cardia...