PDA

View Full Version : How fast does the Grim Reaper walk?


Darryl Shaw
01-04-2012, 05:23 AM
How fast does the Grim Reaper walk? Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis in healthy men aged 70 and over.

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d7679

Abstract

Objective: To determine the speed at which the Grim Reaper (or Death) walks.

Design: Population based prospective study.

Setting: Older community dwelling men living in Sydney, Australia.

Participants: 1705 men aged 70 or more participating in CHAMP (Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project).

Main outcome measures: Walking speed (m/s) and mortality. Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis was used to calculate the area under the curve for walking speed and determine the walking speed of the Grim Reaper. The optimal walking speed was estimated using the Youden index (sensitivity+specificity−1), a common summary measure of the receiver operating characteristics curve, and represents the maximum potential effectiveness of a marker.

Results: The mean walking speed was 0.88 (range 0.15-1.60) m/s. The highest Youden index (0.293) was observed at a walking speed of 0.82 m/s (2 miles (about 3 km) per hour), corresponding to a sensitivity of 63% and a specificity of 70% for mortality. Survival analysis showed that older men who walked faster than 0.82 m/s were 1.23 times less likely to die (95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.37) than those who walked slower (P=0.0003). A sensitivity of 1.0 was obtained when a walking speed of 1.36 m/s (3 miles (about 5 km) per hour) or greater was used, indicating that no men with walking speeds of 1.36 m/s or greater had contact with Death.

Conclusion: The Grim Reaperís preferred walking speed is 0.82 m/s (2 miles (about 3 km) per hour) under working conditions. As none of the men in the study with walking speeds of 1.36 m/s (3 miles (about 5 km) per hour) or greater had contact with Death, this seems to be the Grim Reaperís most likely maximum speed; for those wishing to avoid their allotted fate, this would be the advised walking speed.

http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d7679

Brian Stone
01-05-2012, 06:12 AM
Great find, Darryl!

Wayne Riddle
01-05-2012, 06:36 AM
Begs the question, why were the walking slow? By choice or do to other physical conditions? Trying to do a simple cause / correlation without accounting for all possible factors effecting walking speed.

Steven Low
01-05-2012, 10:11 AM
Walking speed is directly correlated with mortality so...

If they are frail and/or have poor balance... more likely to fall when they walk fast

Deficits in balance and strength, range of motion etc

Once you stop being able to move well... you die.

Wayne Riddle
01-06-2012, 06:12 AM
I understand that Steven, and I agree with those statements. But I've know many people that I would consider "slow walkers" that have nothing wrong with them healthwise. Are they doomed to die young? Doubt it.

Steven Low
01-06-2012, 06:47 AM
I understand that Steven, and I agree with those statements. But I've know many people that I would consider "slow walkers" that have nothing wrong with them healthwise. Are they doomed to die young? Doubt it.
Also pertains to CV health.

There's various indexes or tests such as dynamic gait index.

The inability to actually change walking speed to faster (if they're slow) is a sign of big problems.

That is what I believe they were measuring in this case.

Arien Malec
01-06-2012, 10:40 AM
Begs the question, why were the walking slow? By choice or do to other physical conditions? Trying to do a simple cause / correlation without accounting for all possible factors effecting walking speed.

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/correlation.png (http://xkcd.com/552/)