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Trends in U.S. Health Care

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: March 2017 - Volume 117 - Issue 3 - p 18
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000513279.53388.14
In the News
  • Cancer. The cancer death rate dropped 25% from 1991 to 2014, according to an article in the January–February CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The authors report that the decrease is largely attributable to steady reductions in smoking and advances in the early detection and treatment of the four major types of cancer—lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal. Differences in rates of cancer death exist between the sexes, and by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. To read more, visit
  • Dementia. Findings from a large observational study show that the prevalence of dementia in adults 65 years and older declined significantly between 2000 and 2012. The researchers suggest that improved treatments for diabetes and heart disease may have influenced the decline. To read the full report in JAMA Internal Medicine, visit
  • Depression among adolescents and young adults. An analysis of data from all 50 states shows a statistically significant increase in the prevalence of major depressive episodes in youth ages 12 to 20 years. Almost one in 11 youths in this age group reported such episodes between 2005 and 2014. The authors called for renewed outreach, particularly in schools and colleges, where depression could be identified and treated in this population. Read the complete report at
  • Hospital-acquired conditions. Preliminary estimates by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicate a 21% decrease in hospital-acquired conditions between 2010 and 2015, with a corresponding decrease in deaths attributed to these conditions. While these interim data show significant progress, likely related to financial incentives and better public reporting, the national goal should be to eliminate almost all types of hospital-acquired conditions simultaneously. For current estimates, go to
  • Mortality rates. U.S. life expectancy at birth decreased from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.8 years in 2015. Although death rates for cancer continued to decrease from 2014 to 2015, age-adjusted death rates for heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes increased. For full details on the patterns and variables, see
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