A new study has found that scientists working for healthier humans around the globe are making headway in fighting communicable diseases such as AIDS, malaria and diarrhea.
The study came from the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures in the University of Denver's (DU) Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
The center recently released the third in a series of five volumes that focus on human progress in which researchers explore topics such as education, poverty, infrastructure and governance.
The latest volume sheds light on a transition the authors see occurring in global health- a transition of disease burdens from communicable diseases to chronic ones such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Barry Hughes, one of the volume's authors, says those tables - at nearly 140 pages - contain the most extensive set of global forecasts anywhere.
"Because of great advances, the number of deaths globally from communicable diseases has fallen significantly compared to deaths from chronic diseases, which primarily affect the elderly," said Hughes.
Statistics already show a 50 percent higher rate of death globally from chronic disease than from communicable diseases, although there are still more years of potential life lost to communicable diseases because they kill more infants and children.
By 2020, however, chronic diseases will even take more years of life than will communicable ones. The transition is both driven by and driving rapid population aging, even in developing countries.
"We're bringing the communicable diseases under control - malaria for example - with interventions such as more bed netting to protect from mosquitoes; AIDS death rates are also on a downward trend," said Hughes.