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Old 05-17-2007, 12:27 PM   #1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
One minor disagreement: We have access to the most expensive health care, not to the best.
Which country or region provides better health care than the U.S.? Please elaborate.
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Longevity discussion
Old 05-17-2007, 12:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
Which country or region provides better health care than the U.S.? Please elaborate.
One good measure of health care quality is longevity. By that measure, the US is behind many countries in Europe and a few in Asia (I don't remember the exact countries).

Edit: Here's the latest life expectancy ranking by the CIA. The USA is 45th.
https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat.../2102rank.html


Personally, I'm not fond of the health care provided here. Too many unnecessary operations, desparate and unnecessary measures to lenghten life for terminally ill patients, doing a disservice to both the patient as well as their family members. Law suits are rampant. Doctors who think their time is worth everything, and their patients' time nothing. And cost, of course.
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Old 05-17-2007, 01:03 PM   #3
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No doubt there are flaws in our health care state, in fact I would say access to good health care is a clear dividing line between classes in this country.
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by HaHa
Zipper's role is to be our current Annoying Canadian. We must at all times have at least one, and he has kindly and expertly filled that role for several years.
Who fills the "Annoying American" role?
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Milton
Who fills the "Annoying American" role?
No no - we're not annoying - we're ugly.
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:18 PM   #6
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Can't just blame healthcare in this country. What about individual eating habits, lack of exercise, impacts of stress and a general lack of moderation. We are always quick to point the finger and blame someone or something else.
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
One good measure of health care quality is longevity.
Not sure that health care is the dominant factor in longevity. I think cultural influences, especially diet and lifestyle, play a more important role.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 3 Yrs to Go
Not sure that health care is the dominant factor in longevity. I think cultural influences, especially diet and lifestyle, play a more important role.
I've been reading a book, "The Denial of Aging", that calls precisely that hypothetical causality into question. The data may correlate but longevity may not follow from those factors. Longevity may have nothing to do with culture, lifestyle, or diet. It may be reduced by bad cultures, bad lifestyles, & bad diets, but the converse ain't necessarily so.

Being shot with a .44 Magnum may reduce your longevity. But not being shot with a .44 Magnum has not been conclusively shown to extend the human lifespan.

Some researchers are thinking that the Okinawan Diet is actually the Okinawan genome, as may be much of the longevity of the Asian race. True, a modern diet is wreaking havoc on their younger generation... but diet may not be what got them that longevity in the first place.

Heck, the researchers are still trying to figure out if the calorie-restricted mice will scale up to rhesus monkeys. Unfortunately those monkeys (rhesus, not researchers) live for at least 40 years and there's no reliable method to predict their longevity. Reportedly some of the underfed monkeys are repeatedly vandalizing portraits of Roy Walford, too.

The book is full of interesting insights from data that we've all heard about. If you haven't cared for an elderly relative, or had to make a DNR decision for someone, then if you read this book you may be amazed by the depth of your ignorance. I know I was.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:47 PM   #9
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Nords, am I understanding you correctly then that this author believes that the deciding factor in individual longevity is basically genetics, as indicated by family history, etc.?
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:02 PM   #10
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Nords, am I understanding you correctly then that this author believes that the deciding factor in individual longevity is basically genetics, as indicated by family history, etc.?
Yup. Or at least genetics is the vast majority of of what determines a long life. Worst case is that there may be no other longevity-enhancing effects and everything else affecting longevity is the negative results of random .44-caliber impacts.

And worse than that-- it may not be your immediate family but rather the overall racial genotype (Caucasian, African-American, Asian). So even if our parents lived to their triple digits, it may only mean that less rotten random stuff happened to them than will happen to us. Like flipping a coin or picking a truly skilled fund manager (not just random chance), it may take over 20 generations to conclusively conclude that you have a good longevity heritage. Or that you don't.

When I read this book I was surprised at the degree of my longevity confirmation bias. I've come to expect that with investor psychology, but apparently I still have a blind spot with longevity.

And for those of you thinking ahead, the book claims that physician-assisted suicide ain't the panacaea it's made out by the media to be. The "best bet", if one is able to avoid frailty and the vicious downward spiral of assisted-living & full-care facilities, seems to be living independently at home as long as possible and then moving straight to hospice.

The author is a believer in evidence-based medicine. She's strongly against judging physician's & hospital's performance (or lack thereof) by their patient mortality. The good news is that if I make it to my 70s I can stop caring about PSAs, cholesterol, & colonoscopies! What more reason to live do I need?!
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
The author is a believer in evidence-based medicine. She's strongly against judging physician's & hospital's performance (or lack thereof) by their patient mortality. The good news is that if I make it to my 70s I can stop caring about PSAs, cholesterol, & colonoscopies! What more reason to live do I need?!
Should I even worry about that stuff now (56)?

Though I must say that after retiring, losing 60#, and much lowering BP; I feel much better (mentally/physically).
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:15 PM   #12
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Wowser - one great stock, a couple years to 65.

A dirty old man back on Bourbon Street - blame it all on hormones(stock) and genetics(bogey).

Bon Temps Rolliere.

heh heh heh - Does the margaritaville franchise still have a place near Jackson Square??

?Charles Boyer - youth is wasted on the young?
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:32 PM   #13
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Oh I'm so glad
That I'm not young
Anymore
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
after retiring, losing 60#, and much lowering BP, I feel much better (mentally/physically).
Good for you! Well done.
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Yup. Or at least genetics is the vast majority of of what determines a long life. Worst case is that there may be no other longevity-enhancing effects and everything else affecting longevity is the negative results of random .44-caliber impacts.

And worse than that-- it may not be your immediate family but rather the overall racial genotype (Caucasian, African-American, Asian). So even if our parents lived to their triple digits, it may only mean that less rotten random stuff happened to them than will happen to us. Like flipping a coin or picking a truly skilled fund manager (not just random chance), it may take over 20 generations to conclusively conclude that you have a good longevity heritage. Or that you don't.

When I read this book I was surprised at the degree of my longevity confirmation bias. I've come to expect that with investor psychology, but apparently I still have a blind spot with longevity
And for those of you thinking ahead, the book claims that physician-assisted suicide ain't the panacaea it's made out by the media to be. The "best bet", if one is able to avoid frailty and the vicious downward spiral of assisted-living & full-care facilities, seems to be living independently at home as long as possible and then moving straight to hospice.

The author is a believer in evidence-based medicine. She's strongly against judging physician's & hospital's performance (or lack thereof) by their patient mortality. The good news is that if I make it to my 70s I can stop caring about PSAs, cholesterol, & colonoscopies! What more reason to live do I need?!


Not buying it at all. I highly suggest reading "The Okinawa Diet Plan". An interesting part of the book is where a certain group of Okinawans migrated to Brazil and were studied by and compared to their counterparts living in Okinawan(see pages 21 and 22). The Okinawans who live in Okinawa ate a mostly healthy plant based diet, stayed active, stayed thin, etc. However, the Okinawans who migrated to Brazil "adopt the Brazilian way, which is all too close to the American way". The result? Disease rates skyrocketed for this group. Breast, colon, & prostate cancer and heart disease went up dramatically for the Okinawans living in Brazil. Another alarming part of the study....the Okinawans who lived in Brazil lost 17 years of life expectancy. A great line from the book on this study..."Genes aren't the answer". The Okinawan study also looked at people who lived a long life and were vibrant right up to 100 and beyond. While many did have "good" genes, many others who lived equally long lives had many "bad" genes. The difference again? Lifestyle. Study after study shows this. Look at what's going on in China now....diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are skyrocketing because of an adaption to our western diet and lifestyle. Such diseases were unheard of just a few decades ago in many parts of China. Look at what's happening to Okinawan youth today....again, same genes but different diet...."western" diseases "magically" appear. Same genes, different lifestyle, different result. I've heard a great analogy for genes....your genes are the loaded gun and your lifestyle determines if the trigger gets pulled. Also remember like genetics, what else gets past down via the generations? Eating habits(good, bad, very bad, in between, etc.). Most of us are locked into what mom and dad served us as kids and most of us don't question it through our lives. I think believing that everything is mostly genetic is a good way to shorten an ER in both quality and quantity.
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:10 AM   #16
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Welcome to the board, Steve.

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Originally Posted by STEVEKEYS
Not buying it at all. I highly suggest reading "The Okinawa Diet Plan".
I find it interesting that you'd immediately dismiss the suggested book yet propose one of your own. I've read the Okinawa Diet Plan (plus its sequel) and the Denial of Aging author also references it, saying that a review of its data suggests more than what the Willcoxs initially found. So... have you read Denial of Aging? Maybe you'll go through the same paradigm shift that I experienced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by STEVEKEYS
Disease rates skyrocketed for this group.
The difference again? Lifestyle.
I've heard a great analogy for genes....your genes are the loaded gun and your lifestyle determines if the trigger gets pulled.
I agree that a good lifestyle won't shorten a lifespan, and that a bad lifestyle will probably shorten a lifespan.

But how do we prove that a good lifestyle lengthens life? What if that person's life was already as long as it was going to get and no one ever pulled the trigger?
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:33 AM   #17
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I've been saying all along that I disagree with the argument that longevity statistics are a good measure of the success of a healthcare system. For example, Canada nationalized healthcare in their country back in the 60's. From what I understand, the difference in longevity rates between the USA is still about the same as it was before the Canadian government adopted Medicare for All, yet, people consistently use the longevity statistics as proof that we need universal health insurance.

I think lifestyle choices play a much more important role in longevity than most people care to admit. We can't dismiss genetics, as well as factors out of one's control, such as life's experiences, poverty, crime, etc.
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:35 AM   #18
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Re: Longevity discussion

It seems to me that human nature strives to connect the dots -- a pretty good survival skill. A single cause-and-effect is most comfortable, while adding more variables makes things feel less plausible and less comfortable. Sort of an Occam's Razor gene.

Unfortunately, questions like what "causes" longevity don't lend themselves to one-to-one explanations. Genetic susceptibility often has to be activated by environmental triggers (not all smokers get cancer or emphysema while some get it within just a few years of exposure, and some nonsmokers get both). Throw in lifestyle, an infinite number of unidentified risk factors (for most of human history, the concept of bacteria or viruses never entered human consciousness), and it's pretty humbling.

I think we'll just have to settle for stacking the known risks and known genetic tendencies in our favor, and admit that the other 99.99% will remain unknown for a very long time. Health care? Great when you need it, but it pales in importance compared to clean water, access to good nutrition, genes, and -- who knows -- maybe even stress.
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Old 05-18-2007, 02:29 PM   #19
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Re: Longevity discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
Though I must say that after retiring, losing 60#, and much lowering BP; I feel much better (mentally/physically).
I agree. Lost 25# and started regular cardio workouts. Lower BP and athletic resting pulse rate. The rewards are now.

On longevity as it relates to this forum, we need a better handle on it primarily for planning our money. Actuarial tables lump behaviours together but does it give us any guidance as to whether we can influence the ultimate outcomes?

Here is a start:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity_Myths
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity_Claims

Maybe we can help each other in understanding our odds. Right now we are good to 103yo but if I buy that new Bentley, I will have to die sooner....
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Re: Longevity discussion
Old 05-18-2007, 11:27 PM   #20
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Re: Longevity discussion

I was just going to post on longevity that is very relative to this forum. The basic premise is that the earlier you retire, the longer you will live.

http://www.mytruebrain.com/Creativit...0Longevity.pdf

I look forward to this discussion.

SonnyJim
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