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MUSINGS - REVELATIONS - REVIEWS

Comparative mortality and risk factors for death among US Supreme Court Justices: An update

Background

February 13, 2016 saw the unexpected death of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was born March 11, 1936, making him just shy of 80 years old at the time of his death. The death of Justice Scalia marks the first death of a US Supreme Court Justice since September of 2005, when Justice William Rehnquist died.

In collabortion with two of our colleagues, we published a paper in the Journal of Insurance Medicine in 2015 about the mortality of US Supreme Court Justices. In that paper we presented results from studying the life and death of all 112 Justices that had served from 1789 through the end of 2013.

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In the midst of an epidemiologic revolution

The 48th Annual Meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research took place in Denver, Colorado 16-19 June 2015. For me, the highlight of the Meeting was the 2015 Keynote Cassel Lecture delivered by Dr Judea Pearl: The Scientific Approach to Causal Inference.

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Are doctors experts on life expectancy?

In Doctors are not experts on life expectancy1 David Strauss and Robert Shavelle noted that some clinicians testifying as expert witnesses on life expectancy did not have a very good grasp of the subject. As a result some were providing confusing and/or surprising opinions. The authors provided a number of examples. We can confirm that such misstatements continue to be made in this setting today, but the question of whether doctors are experts on life expectancy is not settled by such examples.

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