The New England Journal of Medicine examines the differences in death between 1900 and 2010. The mortality rate has dropped considerably thanks to infectious disease control, but you have to wonder what the causes for the increase in cancer and heart disease are due to. Though it’s probably a good thing because if people were dying at the same rates from cancer and heart disease today as they were a hundred years ago, the mortality rate would be next to nothing (about 400 deaths per 100,000 people instead of 600).
On another note, it’s pretty clear from this chart that a modern version of Oregon Trail just wouldn’t be as fun. Tommy got Alzheimer’s, forgot where the wagon was and got eaten by a bear, just doesn’t have the same ring to it as tuberculosis or dysentery. [via WaPo]