Halving Premature Death

25th May 2017. 
Richard Peto, Oxford University

The 2016/17 Volta lecture will be given in the College lecture theatre at 5.00 pm on May 25th by Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University.  The will illustrate the social, scientific and medical steps that could halve the number of premature deaths worldwide in the next two decades.  Sir Richard, is one of the world foremost epidemiologist. He contributed extensively to the methodological foundations  of medical statistics and epidemiology and has applied his methodology to disease and control worldwide.  The poster of the lecture can be downloaded here.

Lecture Synopsis
Death in old age is inevitable, but death before old age is not. Except where HIV or political disturbances predominated, mortality rates have been decreasing for decades, helped by sanitation, health care, and social changes. If disease control keeps progressing, then within the next few decades—except where disasters or new epidemics supervene—under-50 mortality and under-70 mortality should fall to less than half of the 2010 global risks of, respectively, 15% and 36%.  Non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, and emphysema, cause about 1/4 of all deaths before age 50, plus four-fifths of those at ages 50 to 69, but although the global population is rising, under-70 NCD death rates are falling by about 15% per decade. The most important external factor is smoking, which in 2010 was causing about a quarter of all cancer deaths in the European Union and 30% of all cancer deaths in the US. Options for reducing this and other major cancer causes will be reviewed.

Biographical Sketch.
Richard Peto is Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford. His epidemiological studies in Europe, America, India, China and Russia have shown that in many populations the importance of major causes such as tobacco, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol has been much underestimated. He has also helped widen international perspectives on the main ways of reducing premature death.

Selected publications
[1] R Peto et al. Halving premature death. Science 345:1272 (2014)
[2] R Peto. The big causes of death from noncommunicable disease. Bull World Health Organ 94:413 (2016)

Cemetery Skyline by Estruda (http://estruda.deviantart.com/art/Cemetery-Skyline-398292168)


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