Congrats, Humans: Life Just Got Longer
Average life expectancy up about 6 years since 1990
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2014 11:31 AM CST
Rita Duda of the Ukraine, right, and Luigi Marzano, 97, smile in Rome, Wednesday, June 27, 2007.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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(Newser) – The average life is stretching longer. A new study in the Lancet—which analyzed 240 causes of death in 188 countries, the Wall Street Journal reports—finds humans today are living 71.5 years on average, an increase of about six years since 1990. Men are living an average 5.8 years longer, while women gained 6.6 years. Experts credit the change to more medical funding for infectious diseases and a 15% decline in deaths from most cancers (pancreatic cancer is the exception here, notes Medical News Today, up by 7%), as well as those from cardiovascular disease, in high-income countries.

A decline in deaths from diarrhea and neonatal complications also helped in low-income countries, Time reports. But on the flip side, deaths from HIV/AIDS increased to the point that sub-Saharan Africa actually saw a drop in life expectancy. And chronic diseases shot up, with one researcher calling "largely neglected" conditions, "particularly drug disorders, liver cirrhosis , diabetes, and chronic kidney disease." Of particular note: Liver cancer caused by hepatitis C jumped by 125%, and drug use disorders were up by 63%.