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Seminar "Average life expectancy and life years lost in people with mental disorders"

The 11th scientific seminar "Modern demography" was held on the 7th of September. Vladimir Canudas-Romo, PhD, associate professor of School of demography at College of arts and social sciences of Australian national university presented a paper "Average life expectancy and life years lost in people with mental disorders".

In his report, V. Canudas-Romo pointed out that terms "life expectancy" and "average life expectancy" are commonly being confused even in scientific journals whey are being used interchangeably. If the "life expectancy" term already implies an average value (mean age at death, or average life expectancy of a cohort), term "average life expectancy" corresponds to the expected life expectancy at the onset of a specific state in which individuals can enter at different ages. A diagnosis of any disease can serve as a good illustration of such a condition.

Based on the data retrieved from the Danish population register (centralized registers of civil registry offices, causes of death and psychological diseases) for 1995-2014, V. Canudas-Romo et al showed the effect imposed by the fact that a person has diagnosed mental disorder on the survival function. In Denmark, individuals with mental disorders have an increased probability of dying from most diseases, especially suicides, alcohol abuse and accidents as compared to the healthy population. The average life expectancy of Danish males with mental disorders (after diagnosis) is 10 years less than that of their "healthy" counterparts, while for Danish females - it is 7 years less. These figures, however, are significantly lower than those obtained for Denmark in previous studies comparing the life expectancy (not an average!) at the age of 15 of healthy population and those diagnosed with mental disorder, i.e. the assumption was made that until the age of disease onset (diagnosed), the intensity of the individual's decrement was the same as that of the "affected" population (nonhealthy).
V. Canudas-Romo also stated that the whole idea of the "average life expectancy" is not only applicable to mortality but to other demographic processes modelled by the means of multiple-decrement life tables as well (for example to nuptiality).

Presentation by V. Canudas-Romo