May 17th, 2011

green leaves

The rarity of autopsies in the US

Today, hospitals perform autopsies on only about 5 percent of patients who die, down from roughly 50 percent in the 1960s.

I'd heard something about the decline of autopsies in the context of fat acceptance-- we don't actually know as much as is commonly thought about the risks of fatness because we don't know what fat people actually die of. However, I had no idea that the autopsy rate had gone that low.

I don't know how often the cause of death is so obvious that autopsy might not make sense, but even then, I've heard that one of the fascinating things you learn as a pathologist is how much can be wrong with people that doesn't kill them. Having a large statistical base of such information would be very useful in determining what conditions which have few or no symptoms should be treated.

More details, if you like. In other words, it's a long somewhat technical article with a bit I find supports my thesis (that 44.4% of autopsies turned up information which would affected treatment), but which I'm not going to read in any detail. Unfortunately, even though it mentions that autopsy rates are declining world-wide, it doesn't have a handy chart of % by country.

First link found at Overcoming Bias.

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green leaves

General words for religious buildings?

As far as I know, English doesn't have general words for religious buildings-- it's synagogue, church, mosque, and it will annoy or confuse people if you interchange them.

Temple or shul might substitute for synagogue (there's cultural variation on that one, of course), and Hindu temple is the only catchphrase I've got for any other religion.

Are there languages which do have general words for religious buildings? Is it a sign of being calmer on the subject if a culture has such words? Is there a legal term in English for religious buildings?

ETA: The idea I was trying to get was that if there were a common word or phrase that people used to refer to houses of worship, including the one they go to, it might indicate that they thought of all religions as being the same sort of thing.

For example, you might refer to your local supermarket by its trademark but there'd be nothing odd about saying that you're going to a supermarket, because there's no strong group loyalty which leads you to think that your preferred supermarket is qualitatively different from other sorts of supermarket.

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