Scientists Create an Atlas That Can Help Predict the Impact of Diseases on Life Expectancy

A team of researchers from Denmark has put together an in-depth atlas of disease mortality that could prove quite useful to scientists carrying out certain disease research as well as to academics and policymakers.

Obese People

Obese People

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The team from Aarhus University published their useful guide to disease mortality in the journal PLOS Medicine. Their study provides an extensive array of estimates of deaths due to diseases and external factors.

Mortality estimates can guide decisions on how to prioritize and allocate resources for healthcare. However, studies probing disorders and mortality estimates have not been adequately detailed.

Until now, researchers have compared relative measures of mortality among people with a specific health issue to the overall population in some cases. At other times, the focus has been on basic life expectancy estimates without caring about the difference in the age of disease onset.

Danish researchers covered a more comprehensive range of disorders in this study. Their findings can greatly aid academics, clinicians, and policymakers with an interest in the connections between diseases and mortality estimates.

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Atlas development

This new detailed atlas is called the Danish Atlas of Disease Mortality. It is an online interactive tool that could help predict how life expectancy could be affected if a person were to have any more than 1800 disorders.

To develop the tool, the Aarhus research team explored the data of more than 7.3 million people who lived in Denmark at any time from 2000 to 2018. It used Danish hospital registers to study individuals that were diagnosed with 1,803 common disorders. These people were monitored for the entire 18-year period, until their death, or until they left the country.

“Most previous papers have used relative measures of mortality or crude estimates of life expectancy,” said Oleguer Plana-Ripoll, a senior researcher at Aarhus University. “Here, we use a new method that more accurately captures premature mortality for more than 1,800 different health conditions.”

The researchers produced a panel of epidemiological and mortality metrics. These embrace different factors, including the age of disease onset, incidence rates, and death rates. There is also an assessment of mortality metrics for people with a disorder relative to the general population.

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This sort of data can enable more clear-cut analyses of the links between disorders and mortality estimates. It can provide a benchmark for designing more helpful healthcare interventions. The atlas can also serve as a guide for health researchers.

The research does have a limitation, however, despite its broad disease coverage. Observed relationships between disorders and mortality may have to do with other factors that are related to a disorder and mortality.


Analysis of mortality metrics associated with a comprehensive range of disorders in Denmark, 2000 to 2018: A population-based cohort study

Online tool predicts impact on your life expectancy from 1800 diseases



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