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The author has already made it to age seventy-five. As he writes in the submitted article, "My hypervigilance doesn’t paralyze me or limit my life: I don’t skip my daily shower, I keep driving, and I keep going back to New Guinea. I enjoy all those dangerous things."

I think the author has actually made a very sound point, statistically speaking, that often incremental improvements in dealing with the little things has as much impact on health outcomes as heroic measures to deal with the big risks to health. All around the developed world, mortality from all causes is steadily declining at all ages,

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=longevity-w...

and most of that decline in mortality (and consequent increase in life expectancy) has come about from incremental reductions in risk. Changing engineering standards for highway construction reduces risk of injury and of death from car crashes. Simple checklists can reduce the risk of surgical complications.

http://www.who.int/patientsafety/safesurgery/en/

http://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/d...

A girl with my daughter's birth year in the United States has a better than even chance to live to be 100 years old,

http://www.prb.org/Journalists/Webcasts/2010/humanlongevity....

http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/1/1/e000128.full

just from an accumulation of incremental improvements in health in the developed countries. The little things matter. We don't have to worry about the little things. Indeed, we can celebrate that so many little things are taken care of for us by societal changes.




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