Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Scoping Mortality Research: (Report of the Mortality Research Steering Group)

  • C. Macdonald (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2011

The Actuarial Profession is currently undertaking a review of its research strategy, and has decided to focus more resources on researching mortality developments. It is important that the profession is involved in partnerships with researchers from outside of the profession, bringing actuarial expertise into closer contact with other disciplines. We believe that collaboration between these different areas of expertise will provide important new insights in understanding mortality trends. This report represents the first step by the Mortality Developments Scoping Project Steering Group to map current research into mortality developments across a wide range of disciplines. The steering group is aware that the themes and literature discussed in this report are not exhaustive; however it does include areas of research not normally covered by the Actuarial Profession. The steering group welcomes comments on the report and suggestions for any areas which may not yet have been covered.

The main aim of this report is to provide an overview of the key areas of research into mortality developments across a wide range of disciplines, as well as areas of overlap and gaps in the research. The literature described is compiled from recommendations received by the Mortality Developments Scoping Project Steering Group from experts from different disciplines working in the area of mortality.

Key themes identified from recommended literature:

— the role of medicine in mortality reduction;

— the role of lifestyle and environment in mortality reduction, including smoking, socio-economic conditions and obesity;

— causes of death contributing to mortality reduction, in particular coronary heart disease;

— mortality reduction attributable to differing age groups;

— the relationship of active life expectancy to total gains in life expectancy;

— evidence of cohort effects on mortality improvement; and

— future trends in mortality developments.

Areas of overlap identified from recommended literature are:

— the overlap between literature examining the role of medicine in mortality decline and the influences on the decline in mortality from coronary heart disease; and

— the areas of overlap between various disciplines working in the field of mortality developments.

Gaps identified in recommended literature are:

— a lack of recommendations from social policy;

— few papers recommended on the role of lifestyle and behavioural factors on mortality;

— few papers recommended on causes of death other than coronary heart disease; and

— few papers recommended on potential threats to future mortality improvement.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

B. Andziak , T.P. O'Connor , W. Qi , E.M. DeWaal , A. Pierce , A.R. Chaudhuri , H. Van Remmen & R. Buffenstein (2006). High oxidative damage levels in the longest-living rodent, the naked mole-rat. Aging Cell, 5(6), 463471.

J. Bongaarts (2006). How long will we live? Population and Development Review, 32, 605628.

J.P. Bunker (2001). The role of medical care in contributing to health improvements within societies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30, 12601263.

S. Capewell (2006). Commentary: predicting future coronary heart disease deaths in Finland and elsewhere. International Journal of Epidemiology, 35, 12531254.

S. Capewell , K. MacIntyre , S. Stewart , J.W. Chalmers , J. Boyd , A. Finlayson et al. (2001). Age, sex, and social trends in out-of-hospital cardiac deaths in Scotland 1986–95: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet, 358, 12131217.

S. Capewell , C.E. Morrison & J.J. McMurray (1999). Contribution of modern cardiovascular treatment and risk factor change to the decline in coronary heart disease mortality in Scotland between 1975 and 1994. Heart, 81, 380386.

R. Catalano & T. Bruckner (2006). Child mortality and cohort lifespan: a test of diminished entelechy. International Journal of Epidemiology, 35, 12641269.

R.M. Cawthon , K.R. Smith , E. O'Brien , A. Sivatchenko & R.A. Kerber (2003). Association between telomere length in blood and mortality in people aged 60 years or older. The Lancet, 361, 393395.

R. Chesson & C. Todd (1996). Bereaved carers: recognising their needs. Elderly Care, 8, 1618.

K. Christensen , T.E. Johnson & J. Vaupel (2006). The quest for genetic determinants of human longevity: challenges and insights. Nature Reviews, Genetics, 7, 436448.

E.M. Crimmins & C.E. Finch (2006). Infection, inflammation, height, and longevity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103, 498503.

J. Critchley , J. Liu , D. Zhao , W. Wei & S. Capewell (2004). Explaining the increase in coronary heart disease mortality in Beijing between 1984 and 1999. Circulation, 110, 12361244.

J.H. Cummings & S.A. Bingham (1998). Diet and the prevention of cancer. British Medical Journal, 317, 16361650.

D.M. Cutler , A.B. Rosen & S. Vijan (2006). The value of medical spending in the United States, 1960–2000. New England Journal of Medicine, 355, 920927.

G. Davey-Smith , C. Hart , D. Blane & D. Hole (1998). Adverse socio-economic conditions in childhood and cause specific adult mortality: prospective observational study. British Medical Journal, 316, 16311635.

A.D.N.J. De Grey (2003). Critique of the demographic evidence for ‘late-life non-senescence’. Biochemical Society Transactions, 31, 452454.

R. Doll & A.B. Hill (2004). The mortality of doctors in relation to their smoking habits: a preliminary report (Reprinted from British Medical Journal, 1954, ii; 1451–1455). British Medical Journal, 328(7455), 15291533.

M. Drakeford (1998). Last rights? Funerals, poverty and social exclusion. Journal of Social Policy, 27, 507524.

J. Flower et al. (2000). Technical advances and the next 50 years of cardiology. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 35, 8190.

J.F. Fries (1980). Aging, natural death and the compression of morbidity. New England Journal of Medicine, 303, 130135.

L.A. Gavrilov & N.S. Gavrilova (2001). Reliability theory of ageing and longevity. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 213, 527545.

W. Gibbs (2005). Obesity: an overblown epidemic. Scientific American, May.

J. Hippesley-Cox et al. (2007). Derivation and validation of QRISK, a new cardiovascular disease risk score for the UK: prospective open cohort study. British Medical Journal, 335(7611) 136.

R. Hoffmann (2005). Do socioeconomic mortality differences increase with age? Demographic Research, 13, 3562.

R. Huxley , C.G. Owen , P.H. Whincup , D.G. Cook , S. Colman & R. Collins (2004). Birth weight and subsequent cholesterol levels: exploration of the ‘fetal origins’ hypothesis. Journal of the American Medical Association, 292(22), 27552764.

F. Janssen , A.E. Kunst & The Netherlands Epidemiology and Demography Compression of Morbidity Research Group (2005). Cohort patterns in mortality trends among the elderly in seven European countries, 1950–99. International Journal of Epidemiology, 34, 11491159.

E.L. Kaplan & P. Meier (1958). Nonparametric estimation from incomplete observations. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 53, 457481.

P.G. Kopelman & C. Grace (2004). New thoughts on managing obesity. Gut, 53, 10441053.

K. Kuulasmaa , H. Tunstall-Pedoe , A. Dobson , S. Fortmann , S. Sans , H. Tolonen et al. (2000). Estimation of contribution of changes in classic risk factors to trends in coronary-event rates across the WHO MONICA project populations. The Lancet, 355, 675687.

C.W. Kuzawa , P.D. Gluckman , M.B. Hanson & A. Beedle (2007). Evolution, developmental plasiticity and metabolic disease. In (S.C. Stearns , ed.), Evolution in health and disease. Oxford University Press.

D. Lawlor , A.G. Davey-Smith , D. Leon , A.J. Sterne & S. Ebrahim (2002). Secular trends in mortality by stroke subtype in the 20th century: a retrospective anaylsis. The Lancet, 360, 18181823.

D.A. Lawlor , G.D. Smith , M. O'Callaghan , R. Alati , A.A. Mamun , G.M. Williams et al. (2007). Epidemiologic evidence for the fetal over nutrition hypothesis: findings from the mater-university study of pregnancy and its outcomes. American Journal of Epidemiology, 165, 418424.

R.D. Lee & L. Carter (1992). Modelling and forecasting the time series of US mortality. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 87, 659671.

J.W. Lynch , G.D. Smith , G.A. Kaplan & J.S. House (2000). Income inequality and mortality: importance to health of individual income, psychosocial environment, or material conditions. British Medical Journal, 320, 12001204.

J.P. Mackenbach (1996). The contribution of medical care to mortality decline: McKeown revisited. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 49, 12071213.

J.P. Mackenbach , C.W.N. Looman , A.E. Knust & J.O. Habbema (1988). Post 1950 mortality trends and medical care: gains in life expectancy due to declines in mortality from conditions amenable to medical intervention in the Netherlands. Social Science and Medicine, 27, 889894.

E. McLaughlin & J. Ritchie (1994). Legacies of caring: the experiences and circumstances of ex-carers. Health and Social Care in the Community, 2, 241253.

W. Mair , P. Goymer , S.D. Pletcher & L. Partridge (2003). Demography of dietary restriction and death in drosophila. Science, 301(5640), 17311733.

K. Manton (1982). Changing concepts of morbidity and mortality in the elderly population. Millbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 60, 183244.

K. Manton , X. Gu & V. Lamb (2006a). Change in chronic disability from 1982 to 2004/2005 as measured by long-term changes in function and health in the U.S. elderly population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103, 1837418379.

K. Manton , X. Gu & V. Lamb (2006b). Long term trends in life expectancy and active life expectancy in the US. Population and Development Review, 32, 81105.

F. Mesle & J. Vallin (2006). Diverging trends in female old age mortality: the US and the Netherlands versus France and Japan. Population and Development Review, 32, 123145.

R.W. Morris , P.H. Whincup , J.R. Emberson , F.C. Lampe , M. Walker & A.G. Shaper (2003). North-south gradients in Britain for stroke and CHD: are they explained by the same factors? Stroke, 34, 26042609.

A.R. Omran (1971). The epidemiologic transition. A theory of the epidemiology of population change. Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 49, 509538.

A. Peeters , J.J. Berendregt , F. Willekens , J.P. Mackenbach , A.A. Mamum & L. Bonneux (2003). Obesity on adulthood and its consequence for life expectancy. Annals of Internal Medicine, 138, 2432.

C. Phoenix & A.D.N.J. de Grey (2007). A model of aging as accumulated damage matches observed mortality patterns and predicts the life-expectancy effects of prospective interventions. Age, 29, 133189.

M. Shaw , G. Davey-Smith & D. Dorling (2005). Health inequalities and New Labour: how the promises compare with real progress. British Medical Journal, 330, 10161021.

M. Stroebe , S. Folkman , R. Hansson & H. Schut (2006). The predication of bereavement outcome: development of an integrative risk factor framework. Social Science and Medicine, 63, 24402451.

E. Sverdrup (1965). Estimates and test procedures in connection with stochastic models of deaths, recoveries and transfers between different states of health. Scandinavian Actuarial Journal, 184211.

A. Swerdlow , I. Dos Santos Silva & R. Doll (2001). Cancer incidence and mortality in England and Wales: trends and risk factors. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A.R. Thatcher (1999). The long term pattern of adult mortality and the highest attained age (with discussion). Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, 162, 543.

T. Truelsen , M. Mahonen , H. Tolonen , K. Asplund , R. Bonita & D. Vanuzzo (2003). Trends in stroke and coronary heart disease in the WHO MONICA project. Stroke, 34, 13461352.

S. Tuljapurkar , N. Li & C. Boe (2000). A universal pattern of mortality decline in the G7 countries. Nature, 405, 789792.

H. Tunstall-Pedoe (2003). MONICA's quarter century. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, 10, 409410.

H. Tunstall-Pedoe , D. Vanuzzo , M. Hobbs , M. Mahonen , Z. Cepaitis , K. Kuulasmaa et al. (2000). Estimation of contribution of changes in coronary care to improving survival, event rates, and coronary heart disease mortality across the WHO MONICA project populations. The Lancet, 355, 688700.

S.D. Tyner , S. Venkatachalam , J. Choi , S. Jones , N. Ghebranious , H. Igelmann , X. Lu , G. Soron , B. Cooper , C. Brayton , S. Hee Park , T. Thompson , G. Karsenty , A. Bradley & L.A. Donehower (2002). p53 mutant mice that display early ageing-associated phenotypes. Nature, 415(6867), 4553.

B. Unal , J.A. Critchley & S. Capewell (2004). Explaining the decline in coronary heart disease mortality in England and Wales between 1981 and 2000. Circulation, 109(9), 11011107.

B. Unal , J.A. Critchley & S. Capewell (2005a). Small changes in United Kingdom cardiovascular risk factors could halve coronary heart disease mortality. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 58, 733740.

B. Unal , J.A. Critchley & S. Capewell (2005b). Modelling the decline in coronary heart disease deaths in England and Wales 1981–2000: comparing contributions from primary prevention and secondary prevention. British Medical Journal, 331, 614.

B. Unal , J.A. Critchley , D. Fidan & S. Capewell (2005c). Life-years gained from modern cardiological treatments and population risk factor changes in England and Wales, 1981–2000. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 103108.

J.W. Vaupel (1997). The remarkable improvements in survival at older ages. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London — Series B: Biological Sciences, 352, 17991804.

N. Wald & M.R. Law (2003). A strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 80%. British Medical Journal, 326, 1419.

K.M. White (2002). Longevity advances in high income countries, 1955–96. Population and Development Review, 28, 5976.

J.R. Wilmoth , L.J. Deegan , H. Lundstrom & S. Horiuchi (2000). Increase of maximum life-span in Sweden, 1861–1999. Science, 289(5488), 23662368.

J.R. Wilmoth & S. Horiuchi (1999). Rectangularization revisited: variability of age at death within human populations. Demography, 36, 475495.

A.I. Yashin , A.S. Begun , S.I. Boiko , S.V. Ukraintseva & J. Oeppen (2001). The new trends in survival improvement require a revision of traditional gerentological concepts. Experimental Gerontology, 37(1), 157167.

A. Cournil & T.B.L. Kirkwood (2001). If you would live long, choose your parents well. Trends in Genetics, 17, 233235.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Actuarial Journal
  • ISSN: 1357-3217
  • EISSN: 2044-0456
  • URL: /core/journals/british-actuarial-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *