[Address: on the diagnostic power of demographic data]

Gesundheitswesen. 1999 Feb;61(2):57-61.
[Article in German]


The analysis of demographic data leads to the following conclusions. 1. Human mortality is governed by a strict mathematical law, but only for natural causes of death, excluding external causes like accidents. 2. Human life expectancy is genetically limited to 100-110 years. 3. Human mortality by natural causes seems to be genetically determined. 4. The increase of life expectancy in the last century is mainly due to the abolishment of external cause of deaths, like infections. 5. The life expectancy of today cannot be substantially increased. 6. The reduction of mortality has been mainly achieved during the present century. 7. The morbidity has not decreased in accordance with mortality. 8. We fall ill mostly through diseases that do not lead to death. 9. The most frequent diseases are of a minor nature.

Conclusion: The role of a physician is, quantitatively spoken, rather to support patients in situations of minor illness than to preserve them from death. This is the prevailing aspect of sociomedicine.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Demography*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Mortality / trends
  • Physician's Role*