The worst disease ever in human history

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  • #26
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PREVENTABLE death. It costs everyone money when it shouldn't.

It costs everyone a lot of money? What is this, youre a greedy bastard?

Well, firstly, I would like to point out that you have what could be misinterpreted arrogant attitude. Then what I am going to say probably will please you!

Actually Poland did a research on this subject, and wouldnt you know it, its actually good for the economy! People die earlier, ergo less expenses for treatment the elderly. This actually by a great deal outweighs the negative consequences you mentioned. Another extremely positive factor is the relative high taxes being put on tobacco sales. This depends on the individual countries, but for instance for Norway, which I come from, have put taxes in the range of several hundreds of percent on the tobacco.

Therefore, as a conclusion, there is no economic negative aspect to tobacco. If one is to state a reason for banning tobacco, it would be on a basis of telling people of how they should live their life. Like in a communistic system. Is that ok?
 
  • #27
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It costs everyone a lot of money? What is this, youre a greedy bastard?

LOL, so what is better spending tons of filthy lucre on treating PREVENTABLE DISEASES or spending all of that money on AIDS research?

Well, firstly, I would like to point out that you have what could be misinterpreted arrogant attitude.


So I have been told.

ctually Poland did a research on this subject, and wouldnt you know it, its actually good for the economy! People die earlier, ergo less expenses for treatment the elderly. This actually by a great deal outweighs the negative consequences you mentioned. Another extremely positive factor is the relative high taxes being put on tobacco sales. This depends on the individual countries, but for instance for Norway, which I come from, have put taxes in the range of several hundreds of percent on the tobacco.


You know what is also good for the economy? Consuming as much as possible. I guess we should continue to consume as much as possible irregardless of the disastrous effects it may have on the environment.

Also please link to the Polish study. From what you have described the Polish study seems to have only examined costs of treating smoking illnesses vs. cost of elderly care. If you are going to talk economics then start thinking like an economist. Smoking also has costs from lost productivity. You can not simply ignore that HUGE point and must factor it in to how much smoking really economically costs.

Therefore, as a conclusion, there is no economic negative aspect to tobacco. If one is to state a reason for banning tobacco, it would be on a basis of telling people of how they should live their life. Like in a communistic system. Is that ok?


Where did I ever mention the word 'ban' ? Get a friggin clue dude.
 
  • #28
OmCheeto
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Cars is apparently the correct answer. (In the good old USofA at least)
Most of the modern diseases affect mostly older people who would not have been alive at their age a couple of hundred years ago. So healthcare, media, and general societal hysteria might come in as a good second, third and fourth as most deadly diseases.

http://www.disastercenter.com/cdc/

Odd. The music playing in the background where I'm at is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFObRusJt24"

I always knock on wood when I hear that song.
 
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  • #29
NoTime
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LOL, so what is better spending tons of filthy lucre on treating PREVENTABLE DISEASES or spending all of that money on AIDS research?

Lol. Preventable?
You could eliminate AIDS if everyone stopped having sex.
As an added benefit this would solve all enviromental problems in about 60 years.

You could solve the malaria problem just by moving all people out of the tropics.

PS: While I don't have any handy links I've seen other studies that indicate smokers die cheaper.
 
  • #30
NoTime
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Most of the modern diseases affect mostly older people who would not have been alive at their age a couple of hundred years ago.

You don't have to go back that far. IIRC the life expectancy in the USA in 1900 was 45 and probably remains in that neighborhood for a lot of the world currently.

Personally I'd pick poverty.
 
  • #31
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Lol. Preventable?
You could eliminate AIDS if everyone stopped having sex.
As an added benefit this would solve all enviromental problems in about 60 years.

You could solve the malaria problem just by moving all people out of the tropics.



No AIDS is still transferable from non sexual contact.


PS: While I don't have any handy links I've seen other studies that indicate smokers die cheaper.


You should read this book then that was published by MIT
http://books.google.com/books?id=J4...oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail

There are 100s of studies out there that have tried to determine the net cost of smoking to society, however, most of them only concentrate on one thing such as medical costs vs. savings in shorter lifespan while ignoring many other costs attributed with smoking like lost productivity.

In that book Sloan (Duke Economist) conducted one of the most recent and comprehensive studies of the net cost of smoking and concludes that even if you factor in the shorter lifespans of smokers, smoking still places an economic burden on the rest of society.


Sure smokers pay cigarette taxes, but they earn less over their lifetime (because of the more time they need off etc.) thus leading to less taxes paid into things like income taxes.

Read the book.

You could solve the malaria problem just by moving all people out of the tropics.


Even though Malaria in the US is rare (and considered to be eradicated in the US) there are still reported cases of Malaria infections from people who didn't even travel outside of the US.

http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/features/surveillance.htm [Broken]

Also moving 4 billion people from tropical climates or sub saharan Africa in order to avoid malaria IS NOT REALISTIC.
 
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  • #32
ZapperZ
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In case people have forgotten, please click on the link to https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5374". You are also welcome to use the REPORT button if you believe a post is out of line. If you choose to IGNORE all that, then a bunch of you will be forced to go find a life elsewhere away from PF.

Zz.
 
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  • #33
jim mcnamara
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Zz has it exactly. You guys are arguing ad hominem - not critiquing data or data gathering procedures. That is a fast path to getting a horizontal line thru your username.
 
  • #34
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Yeah, I see that I went a bit over the border there.. Well, now I know where the limit is set, and Ill try to refrain from passing it in the future :)..
 
  • #35
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Gravenworld:

I must apologize, because the study was not made in Poland, but in the Czech Republic ;).. you know, there's always problems sorting out between those countries.
Another error I made was stating that the study was financed by the State. This is not factual, and came as a result of hearing the news on radio several years ago, and everything did not stick ;)..

Well, here is your link:http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Philip-Morris-Czech-Study.htm" [Broken]

Though provisioned by Philip Morris, the data should be easily verified!.. Let me hear back when you get to read through it ;)
 
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  • #36
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IMO this discussion underscores Ivan's original point about addiction. Nicotine while not producing euphoria has the curious property of being among the most addictive substances known to man. The leader tho by quite a stretch in terms of addiction worldwide remains caffeine.
 
  • #37
Tsu
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And all of those have an extremely good chance of having smoking as their hidden cause.

Stomach cancer, high blood pressure and cerebrovascular disease could also have smoking as their hidden cause.
 
  • #38
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This list of the http://healthlifeandstuff.com/2009/11/the-10-worst-diseases-ever/" [Broken] says Bubonic plague is the worst, as it killed 1/3 people in Europe at one point.
 
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  • #39
mgb_phys
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This list of the http://healthlifeandstuff.com/2009/11/the-10-worst-diseases-ever/" [Broken] says Bubonic plague is the worst, as it killed 1/3 people in Europe at one point.

Yes but the population then wasn't that big so it may have only killed 10M people.
So a disease today that kills 1% of the 6Bn population is a bigger killer.
Alternatively a disease like malaria that killed a large proportion of people every year for the last million years is also a contender.
 
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  • #40
I'm no expert on this subject but I would say smallpox. It killed 90% of the indigenous people in North and South America after Columbus arrived. Plus many people in Europe, Asia and Africa.

I would have said Bubonic Plague, but smallpox seems to have caused more damage.
 
  • #41
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Alternatively a disease like malaria that killed a large proportion of people every year for the last million years is also a contender.

I wasn't aware malaria has been around for the last million years. Source please. The History of Malaria, an Ancient Disease implies early mention of malaria in 2700BC.
http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/history/index.htm

As far as today goes' ischemic heart disease kills over 6 million individuals each year and is projected by the World Health Organization to be the greatest single-disease cause of death worldwide' according to Duke Clinical Research Institute.
Dis Markers. 2009;26(5-6):265-71.

Prognostic biomarkers in individuals with prevalent coronary heart disease.

Halim SA, Newby LK.

Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27715-7969, USA.
Coronary disease is the leading killer of individuals worldwide and a leading cause of healthcare expenditure. On a global scale, ischemic heart disease kills over 6 million individuals each year and is projected by the World Health Organization to be the greatest single-disease cause of death worldwide by an increasing margin into 2030. Nearly 17 million Americans (7.6% of the population) have prevalent coronary heart disease, 8 million of whom have had a prior myocardial infarction. It is estimated that in 2009, 550,000 will die from coronary heart disease in the United States and that the direct and indirect costs from treating coronary heart disease will exceed $165 billion. Although patients with known coronary artery disease are among the highest risk patients for future cardiac events, not all patients with coronary disease will have an ischemic event (first or recurrent). Determining which of these patients will have an ischemic event is critical to the concept of personalized cardiovascular care. Increasingly, biomarkers that can be readily assayed from blood or other body fluids will be critical to risk stratification and effective application of secondary prevention strategies, just as they have played an increasingly prominent role in risk stratification of acute coronary syndrome patients.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/e...ez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
 
  • #42
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Impressive numbers, but still a drop in the bucket compared to addictive disease, which obviously causes a lot of heart disease. I couldn't easily locate US stats but here are some from Canada which in the year in question had a population of about 23 million. From the: Journal of Public Health, Vol. 89, Issue 3 385-390, Copyright © 1999 by American Public Health Association
This Article




Morbidity and mortality attributable to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use in Canada.

E Single, L Robson, J Rehm, X Xie and X Xi

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


OBJECTIVES: This study estimated morbidity and mortality attributable to substance abuse in Canada. METHODS: Pooled estimates of relative risk were used to calculate etiologic fractions by age, gender, and province for 91 causes of disease or death attributable to alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs. RESULTS: There were 33,498 deaths and 208,095 hospitalizations attributed to tobacco, 6701 deaths and 86,076 hospitalizations due to alcohol, and 732 deaths and 7095 hospitalizations due to illicit drugs in 1992. CONCLUSIONS: Substance abuse exacts a considerable toll on Canadian society in terms of morbidity and mortality, accounting for 21% of deaths, 23% of years of potential life lost, and 8% of hospitalizations.
One stat I did find re the USA, 500 billion per annum direct and indirect costs, and that for EtOH alone!
 
  • #43
mgb_phys
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I wasn't aware malaria has been around for the last million years. Source please. The History of Malaria, an Ancient Disease implies early mention of malaria in 2700BC.
The malaria parasite is old, the family is possibly older than mosquitoes. It also infects a lot of other primates so it's a fair bet it infected early man as well.

It also infects people on the african savanna, most more modern epidemic disease are water borne or transmitted from domesticated animals so need the start of cities to become a problem. Malaria was always present for as long as you care to define people as people.

It probably wasn't mentioned before the invention of writing and civilization in the 3rd millennia BC for the same reason that nothing else is!
 
  • #44
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The malaria parasite is old, the family is possibly older than mosquitoes. It also infects a lot of other primates so it's a fair bet it infected early man as well.

It also infects people on the african savanna, most more modern epidemic disease are water borne or transmitted from domesticated animals so need the start of cities to become a problem. Malaria was always present for as long as you care to define people as people.

It probably wasn't mentioned before the invention of writing and civilization in the 3rd millennia BC for the same reason that nothing else is!

Well, I went exploring and found an absolutely incrediable website that pertains to nearly every aspect of "Malaria - History, Aetiology, Pathophysiology, Clinical Features, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications And Control Of Malaria" by Dr. B.S. Kakkilaya. I highly recomend his educational website for those who wish to learn about Malaria.

History of Malaria Parasite And Its Global Spread


Time Line For Origin of Malaria

Half a billion years ago
Existence of pre-parasitic ancestor

150 million to 200 million years ago
Early Dipterans, ancestors of mosquitoes, appear

130 million years ago
Two-host life cycle in Dipterans and vertebrates evolves

130 million years ago
Divergence of the bird and mammalian malaria parasites

100 million years ago
Lineage of P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. vivax diverges

~5 million years ago
P. falciparum evolves

2-3 million years ago
Divergence of P. vivax from P. cynomolgi

4000-10000 years ago
Lethal strain of P. falciparum appears

4000-5000 years ago
Anophelines in Africa develop highly anthropophilic habits

Man and Malaria seem to have evolved together. It is believed that most, if not all, of today's populations of human malaria may have had their origin in West Africa (P. falciparum) and West and Central Africa (P. vivax) on the basis of the presence of homozygous alleles for hemoglobin C and RBC Duffy negativity that confer protection against P. falciparum and P. vivax respectively.

The ancestors of the malaria parasites have probably existed at least half a billion years ago. Molecular genetic evidence strongly suggests that the pre-parasitic ancestor for malaria parasite was a choroplast-containing, free-living protozoan which became adapted to live in the gut of a group of aquatic invertebrates. This single-celled organism probably had obligate sexual reproduction, within the midgut lumen of a host species. At some relatively early stage in their evolution, these "premalaria parasites" acquired an asexual, intracellular form of reproduction called schizogony and with this, the parasites greatly increased their proliferative potential. (This schizogony in the RBCs of humans causes the clinical manifestations of malaria). Among the invertebrates to which the ancestors of the malaria parasites became adapted were probably aquatic insect larvae, including those of early Dipterans, the taxonomic order to which mosquitoes and other blood-sucking flies belong. These insects first appeared around 150 million to 200 million years ago. During or following this period, certain lines of the ancestral malaria parasites achieved two-host life cycles which were adapted to the blood-feeding habits of the insect hosts. In the 150 million years since the appearance of the early Diptera, many different lines of malaria and malaria-like parasites evolved and radiated. The malaria parasites of humans evolved on this line with alternate cycles between human and the blood-feeding female Anopheles mosquito hosts. Fossil mosquitoes have been found in geological strata 30 million years old.

P. falciparum is found to be very closely related to a malaria parasites of chimpanzees, P. reichenowi and these two are more closely related to the malaria parasites of birds than to those of other mammals. The lineage of these parasites possibly occurred around 130 million years ago, nearly about the same time as the origin of the two-host life cycle involving blood-feeding Dipterans and land vertebrates. The separation of the lines that led to P. falciparum and P. reichenowi probably occurred only 4 million to 10 million years ago, overlapping the period in which the human line diverged from that of the African great apes. The modern, lethal strains of P. falciparum probably emerged about 4,000 years ago, after agriculture took roots in Africa.

P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. vivax diverged over 100 million years ago along the lineage of the mammalian malaria parasites. P. ovale is the the sole known surviving representative of its line and causes infection only in humans. P. malariae was a parasite of the ancestor of both humans and African great apes and had the ability to parasitize and cross-infect both host lineages as they diverged around five million years ago. P. malariae is found as a natural parasite of chimpanzees in West Africa and P. brazilianum that infects New World monkeys in Central and South America is morphologically indistinguishable from P. malariae. P. malariae, like P. ovale, is the only confirmed and extant representative of its line. P. vivax belongs to a group of malaria parasites like P. cynomolgi, that infect monkeys. The time of divergence of P. vivax from P. cynomolgi is put at 2-3 million years ago.

End of the last glacial period and warmer global climate heralded the beginnings of agriculture about 10000 years ago. It is argued that the entry of agricultural practice into Africa was pivotal to the subsequent evolution and history of human malaria. The Neolithic agrarian revolution, which is believed to have begun about 8,000 years ago in the "Fertile Crescent," southern Turkey and northeastern Iraq, reached the western and Central Africa around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. This led to the adaptations in the Anopheles vectors of human malaria. The human populations in sub-Saharan Africa changed from a low-density and mobile hunting and gathering life-style to communal living in settlements cleared in the tropical forest. This new, man-made environment led to an increase in the numbers and densities of humans on the one hand and generated numerous small water collections close to the human habitations on the other. This led to an increase in the mosquito population and the mosquitoes in turn had large, stable, and accessible sources of blood in the human population, leading to very high anthropophily and great efficiency of the vectors of African malaria. Even though the practice of agriculture had developed throughout the tropics and subtropics of Asia and the Middle East up to several thousand years before those in Africa, simultaneous animal domestication in Asia probably prevented the mosquitoes from developing exclusive anthropophilic habits. In most parts of the world, the anthropophilic index (the probability of a blood meal being on a human) of the vectors of malaria is much less than 50% and often less than 10 to 20%, but in sub-Saharan Africa, it is 80 to almost 100%. This is probably the most important single factor responsible for the stability and intensity of malaria transmission in tropical Africa today.
http://www.malariasite.com/malaria/history_parasite.htm [Broken]

It probably wasn't mentioned before the invention of writing and civilization in the 3rd millennia BC for the same reason that nothing else is!

You might enjoy reading "Malaria In Ancient Literature."
http://www.malariasite.com/malaria/history_literature.htm [Broken]

Thanks,

Mars
 
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  • #45
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well quite the discussion on noninfectious .. ugh... conditions or behaviors..
i would have to agree with the flu of 1918
but i would like to expand on what is the worse on the human condition
i/e the person?

rabbies ? leper loosing parts of his body?
loosing your mind or un-tolerable pain from parasitic infections?

yes.. that is a good expanshon of the OP's question
what is the worse or most horrible
Infectious disease on the person ...?
 
  • #46
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The Op's question never said word one about infectious etiology. I trust from your comments that you don't see addiction as a disease. You may not have enough information: the genetic contribution (at least with alcohol) is greater than both cardiovascular disease or Type II diabetes (which are felt to be highy inheritable diseases and also contain behavioral components). The course of the illness is uniform across cutures and and from what we can tell, time course. Not an infectious disease (role modeling and parental habits are of less prognostic importance than the history of the biologic parents, even in cases of adoption at birth), but a disease by every criteria.
 
  • #47
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It seems reasonable to consider only those diseases which are likely to cause severe disability or death of a young person. Neither smoking, nor alcohol addiction, nor obesity fit this criterion. Smoking will make you more likely to die of lung cancer when you're 70 (instead of living till 80 just to have your consciousness wiped by Alzheimers). Excessive consumption of alcohol can result in stomach cancer or cirrhosis of liver, but once again not till you're into your retirement years.

We should not consider diseases that primarily kill infants and the elderly (such as most types of flu), and we should adjust for the population of the world (75 million killed by the 1918 flu pandemic in the population of 2 billion represent smaller impact on human society than 75 million killed by the 14th century plague pandemic in the population of 400 million).

From this perspective, it's probably a three-way tie between plague, smallpox and tuberculosis.
 
  • #48
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I would agree if you considered all generations equally important--i.e that the population was roughly constant with roughly the same proportion of individuals surviving childhood.

But if you look at total numbers afflicted, than I would disagree.

fig-humans.jpg



A rather sobering reminder that population numbers were virtually flat until say 1500 a.d. at which time sufficient numbers were living plenty long enough to suffer the ravages of addictive illness. BTW I have seen several die under the age of 30 to cardiomyopathy and cirrhosis, but recognize that most of these illnesses have their largest impact in middle age.
 
  • #49
Hurkyl
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  • #50
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From the perspective that H. sapiens is probably about 200,000 years old, yes. So the classic 30 foot graph with a spike on the end is a better representation than the one shown.
 

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