Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cure for Old Age Discovered in 1951

Among the "20 Things You Didn't Know About... Death" in the current issue of Discover were these two things I didn't know about death.

3 No American has died of old age since 1951.

4 That was the year the government eliminated that classification on death certificates. [Link]
A more complete explanation may be found in Leonard Hayflick's 2002 essay titled, "Has Anyone Ever Died of Old Age?"
The cure resulted from a Public Health Conference on Records and Statistics in which all state and federal agencies were ordered to adopt a standard list of 130 contributing and underlying causes of death. In 1951, the list deleted a cause of death attributed to “old age.”

Thus, with a single stroke of a typewriter key, old age was cured as a cause of death in this country. [Link (pdf)]

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