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Article
October 16, 1948

Medical Economics

JAMA. 1948;138(7):528-529. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900070060022

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Abstract

WHAT IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH? 

Note.—  Summary of a monograph by Frank G. Dickinson, Ph.D., and Everett L. Welker, Ph.D., Director and Associate in Mathematics of the Bureau of Medical Economic Research of the American Medical Association. The monograph has just been published as Bureau Bulletin Number 64.—Ed.In view of the twenty-two year difference between the average ages at death from the leading "older" causes (heart, cancer, intracranial lesions of vascular origin and nephritis) and from the leading "younger" causes (accidents, pneumonia and influenza, and tuberculosis), the authors question the adequacy of numbers of deaths as the sole measure of the relative importance of the various causes. As an alternative to this traditional measure, they have developed two new measures for ranking the causes of death. These take into consideration the age at death as well as the number of deaths from each cause.

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