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Original Contributions
May 8, 1991

Cause-Specific Mortality Among Physicians With Differing Life-styles

JAMA. 1991;265(18):2352-2359. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460180058033

We compare the mortality experience of medical school graduates from Loma Linda University (LLU [n = 4342]) and the University of Southern California (USC [n = 2832]) with each other and with that of contemporaneous, white, American men. When compared with US white men from the general population, both USC and LLU graduates had below expected deaths for all causes (USC, standardized mortality ratio [SMR] = 76; LLU, SMR = 56), although deaths due to cerebrovascular disease, airplane accidents, and suicides were elevated for USC (SMRs = 132,360, and 218, respectively). The LLU graduates had a risk similar to that of the USC graduates for fatal cancer, with a mortality ratio (MR) of 0.92 (95% confidence interval, 0.67 to 1.26); but half the risk of fatal atherosclerotic disease, with MRs of 0.58 (0.46 to 0.73) and 0.66 (0.43 to 0.99) for coronary and cerebrovascular disease, respectively; and three times the risk of fatal airplane accidents. The overall mortality rate of LLU physicians was only 75% as high as that of the USC physicians and only 56% as high as that of the US male population at large. We attribute this reduced mortality mainly to the low cardiovascular mortality rates, which may be accounted for by the life-style of the substantial proportion of Seventh-day Adventists among LLU graduates.

(JAMA. 1991;265:2352-2359)