Inequality in mortality decreased among the young while increasing for older adults, 1990–2010

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Science  06 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6286, pp. 708-712
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1437

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  • RE: The Accumulative Effect should be Considered
    • Cedric Fan, Professor, MIT Information Quality Program- Data Quality & Info Security Lab, Nanjing Tech University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Amanda Cao, Professor, Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College, the University of Cambridge

    In their Report “Inequality in mortality decreased among the young while increasing for older adults, 1990-2010” (Science 6 May 2016: Vol. 352 no. 6286 pp. 708), J. Currie found increasing inequality in mortality at older ages and suggested that inequality in old-age mortality is likely to decline (1).

    Their work is definitely important and useful. However, there still exist three tiny problems.

    In the Legend area of Fig. 1.(A), there are two “W 2010” and the first one should be replaced by “W 2000”.

    Problem 2
    In Fig.2., Fig.3., Table S3 and Table S4, some implied interrelations may exist. For example, under one certain Poverty percentile, they may probably a same group of individuals with Age 60-64 in 1990, Age 70-74 in 2000 and Age 80-84 in 2010 to some extent. So the accumulative effect should be considered.

    Problem 3
    From Fig.2., Fig.3., it can be seen that the turning point of inequality happened near Age 85. So we should examine the further details with more data instead of only the data of Age 85 and above.

    Sometimes, the shortage of medical and health services also means a grieved natural selection mechanism of only keeping the stronger rather than prolonging the weaker.


    1 J. Currie, Science 352, 6286 (2016).

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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