Some semi-encouraging news from the CDC's not-so-cheery annual report on death: For the first time since 1965, homicide did not make the top 15 causes of death in the US last year. But something had to take its place, and that was pneumonitis, a respiratory illness that mainly plagues older people, the AP reports. In addition to the number of murders dropping in 2010, the infant mortality rate also dropped to a record low of 6.14 deaths per 1,000 births.
Meanwhile, life expectancy rose: A child born last year is expected to live about 78 years and 8 months, about a month longer than 2009's life expectancy. Of course, heart disease and cancer are still topping the list. But fewer died from those and five other leading causes of death last year: stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, flu/pneumonia, and blood infections. And now the bad news: Death rates were up for Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, Parkinson's disease, and, of course, pneumonitis. (Read more Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stories.)