Saturday January 18, 2020

Global Life Expectancy Up by 5.5 Years Between 2000 and 2016, Says WHO

At a global scale, girls born in 2016 are expected to live to the age of 74.2, while and boys on average will make it to 69.8 years, the report showed

0
//
life expectancy
FILE - Jasmilfer, 23, a Venezuelan from Monagas state, holds her five-day-old baby Arjunea at a maternity hospital in Boa Vista, Roraima state, Brazil, Aug. 21, 2018. VOA

Global life expectancy grew by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016, the World Health Organization said Thursday, warning though that unequal income and access to healthcare translates into far shorter lives for many.

The U.N. health agency also stressed significant gender differences in life expectancy worldwide. On average, a child born in 2016 can expect to live 72 years, up from 66.5 in 2000, according to the annual World Health Statistics report.

The first 16 years of the century saw dramatic drops in deaths among children under five, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where progress has been made against malaria, measles and other communicable diseases, WHO said.

Life expectancy has also increased thanks to advances against HIV/AIDS, which ravaged much of Africa in the 1990s.

life expectancy
People in low-income countries live 18 fewer years on average than those in high-income nations, statistics showed. Pixabay

But despite progress in poorer countries, WHO said there remained significant life expectancy gaps between developed and developing nations.

People in low-income countries live 18 fewer years on average than those in high-income nations, statistics showed.

In Lesotho, for instance, people on average live to be just 52, or 53 in the Central African Republic 53 years of age, compared to over 83 for Switzerland and over 84 in Japan.

While most people who die in rich countries are old, nearly one in three deaths in poorer countries are children under five, WHO said.

‘Shocking differences’

For the first time, WHO broke down its global health statistics by sex, clearly showing that females have better longevity prospects than males. At birth, babies are more likely to be male than female, with some 73 million boys expected to be born this year, compared to 68 million girls, WHO said.

life expectancy
For the first time, WHO broke down its global health statistics by sex, clearly showing that females have better longevity prospects than males. VOA

But due to greater biological frailty and riskier behaviours, mortality rates tend to be higher among boys and men, and the ratio shifts as the population ages. At a global scale, girls born in 2016 are expected to live to the age of 74.2, while and boys on average will make it to 69.8 years, the report showed.

One reason why women appear to live longer is that they tend to be better about using available healthcare.

In countries facing HIV epidemics, for instance, women are far more likely to take HIV tests and access antiretroviral therapies than their male counterparts. Female TB patients are also more likely to seek treatment, WHO said.

It is therefore perhaps not surprising that the gap between men’s and women’s life expectancy is narrowest in places where women lack access to health services.

In low-income countries with scarcer services, one in 41 women die from maternal causes, compared to one in 3,300 women in high-income countries. These are “shocking differences”, WHO’s head of data and analytics, Samira Asma, told reporters.

life expectancy
One reason why women appear to live longer is that they tend to be better about using available healthcare. VOA

ALSO READ: Women Live on Average 4.4 Years Longer than Men. Why?

Overall, the statistics showed that life expectancy has risen in most countries, including significant jumps in places like Eritrea, where people on average are now expected to live 22 years longer than the 43 years predicted in 2000.

In Syria, meanwhile, which has been ravaged by eight years of conflict, life expectancy dropped by a decade, from 73 years in 2000 to 63.8 years in 2016.

People in the United States have meanwhile seen their life expectancy slip from 79 years in 2014 to 78.5 years two years later, the WHO numbers showed. Asma said the drop was in part driven by the obesity epidemic. (VOA)

Next Story

This New Device Helps in Capturing and Identifying Virus

New device to capture and identify viruses developed

0
Virus device
Researchers have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture virus. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Researchers have developed a device to quickly capture and identify various strains of virus.

“We have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture viruses based on size,” said study researcher Mauricio Terrones from Penn State University.

“Our device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. We then use Raman spectroscopy to identify the viruses based on their individual vibration,” Terrones added.

This device, called a VIRRION, has a wide range of possible uses. For farmers, for example, early detection of a virus in the field can save an entire crop. Early detection of a virus in livestock can save a herd from illness. Humans also will benefit by the detection of viruses in minutes rather than in days with current methods.

According to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, because of its size and low cost, such a device would be useful in every doctor’s office as well as in remote locations when disease outbreaks occur.

virus device
The device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Currently, virologists estimate that 1.67 million unknown viruses are in animals, a number of which can be transmitted to humans. Known viruses, such as H5N1, Zika and Ebola have caused widespread illness and death.

The World Health Organisation states that early detection can halt virus spread by enabling rapid deployment of countermeasures. “Most current techniques require large and expensive pieces of equipment,” Terrones said.

“The VIRRION is a few centimeters across. We add gold nanoparticles to enhance the Raman signal so that we are able to detect the virus molecule in very low concentrations. We then use machine learning techniques to create a library of virus types,” Terrones added.

According to the researchers, the VIRRION enables the rapid enrichment of virus particles from any type of sample — environmental or clinical — which jump-starts viral characterisation. This has applications in virus emergence, virus discovery and in diagnosis.

“We synthesized a gradient of aligned carbon nanotube forest arrays to capture different viruses according to their size and detect them in-situ using Raman spectroscopy,” said study lead author Ying-Ting Yeh.

Also Read- Know the Difference between Parkinson’s Disease and Bipolar Disorder

“We designed and assembled a portable platform that enriches virus particles from several milliliters of clinical samples in a couple of minutes,” Ting Yeh added.

“We hope to use this device for the capture and sequencing of single virions, giving us a much better handle on the evolution of the virus in real time,” said Elodie Ghedin from New York University. (IANS)