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definitions - Death

death (n.)

1.the act of killing"he had two deaths on his conscience"

2.the event of dying or departure from life"her death came as a terrible shock" "upon your decease the capital will pass to your grandchildren"

3.the permanent end of all life functions in an organism or part of an organism"the animal died a painful death"

4.the absence of life or state of being dead"he seemed more content in death than he had ever been in life"

5.a final state"he came to a bad end" "the so-called glorious experiment came to an inglorious end"

6.the time at which life ends; continuing until dead"she stayed until his death" "a struggle to the last"

7.the time when something ends"it was the death of all his plans" "a dying of old hopes"

8.To be used for social aspects of death and attitudes towards death.

Death (n.)

1.the personification of death"Death walked the streets of the plague-bound city"

2.(MeSH)Irreversible cessation of all bodily functions, manifested by absence of spontaneous breathing and total loss of cardiovascular and cerebral functions.

death

1.To be used for social aspects of death and attitudes towards death.

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Merriam Webster

DeathDeath (dĕth), n. [OE. deth, deað, AS. deáð; akin to OS. dōð, D. dood, G. tod, Icel. dauði, Sw. & Dan. död, Goth. dauþus; from a verb meaning to die. See Die, v. i., and cf. Dead.]
1. The cessation of all vital phenomena without capability of resuscitation, either in animals or plants.

Local death is going on at all times and in all parts of the living body, in which individual cells and elements are being cast off and replaced by new; a process essential to life. General death is of two kinds; death of the body as a whole (somatic or systemic death), and death of the tissues. By the former is implied the absolute cessation of the functions of the brain, the circulatory and the respiratory organs; by the latter the entire disappearance of the vital actions of the ultimate structural constituents of the body. When death takes place, the body as a whole dies first, the death of the tissues sometimes not occurring until after a considerable interval. Huxley.

2. Total privation or loss; extinction; cessation; as, the death of memory.

The death of a language can not be exactly compared with the death of a plant. J. Peile.

3. Manner of dying; act or state of passing from life.

A death that I abhor. Shak.

Let me die the death of the righteous. Num. xxiii. 10.

4. Cause of loss of life.

Swiftly flies the feathered death. Dryden.

He caught his death the last county sessions. Addison.

5. Personified: The destroyer of life, -- conventionally represented as a skeleton with a scythe.

Death! great proprietor of all. Young.

And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death. Rev. vi. 8.

6. Danger of death. “In deaths oft.” 2 Cor. xi. 23.

7. Murder; murderous character.

Not to suffer a man of death to live. Bacon.

8. (Theol.) Loss of spiritual life.

To be carnally minded is death. Rom. viii. 6.

9. Anything so dreadful as to be like death.

It was death to them to think of entertaining such doctrines. Atterbury.

And urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death. Judg. xvi. 16.

Death is much used adjectively and as the first part of a compound, meaning, in general, of or pertaining to death, causing or presaging death; as, deathbed or death bed; deathblow or death blow, etc.

Black death. See Black death, in the Vocabulary. -- Civil death, the separation of a man from civil society, or the debarring him from the enjoyment of civil rights, as by banishment, attainder, abjuration of the realm, entering a monastery, etc. Blackstone. -- Death adder. (Zoöl.) (a) A kind of viper found in South Africa (Acanthophis tortor); -- so called from the virulence of its venom. (b) A venomous Australian snake of the family Elapidæ, of several species, as the Hoplocephalus superbus and Acanthopis antarctica. -- Death bell, a bell that announces a death.
The death bell thrice was heard to ring. Mickle.-- Death candle, a light like that of a candle, viewed by the superstitious as presaging death. -- Death damp, a cold sweat at the coming on of death. -- Death fire, a kind of ignis fatuus supposed to forebode death.
And round about in reel and rout,
The death fires danced at night.
Coleridge.-- Death grapple, a grapple or struggle for life. -- Death in life, a condition but little removed from death; a living death. [Poetic] “Lay lingering out a five years' death in life.” Tennyson. -- Death rate, the relation or ratio of the number of deaths to the population.
At all ages the death rate is higher in towns than in rural districts. Darwin.-- Death rattle, a rattling or gurgling in the throat of a dying person. -- Death's door, the boundary of life; the partition dividing life from death. -- Death stroke, a stroke causing death. -- Death throe, the spasm of death. -- Death token, the signal of approaching death. -- Death warrant. (a) (Law) An order from the proper authority for the execution of a criminal. (b) That which puts an end to expectation, hope, or joy. -- Death wound. (a) A fatal wound or injury. (b) (Naut.) The springing of a fatal leak. -- Spiritual death (Scripture), the corruption and perversion of the soul by sin, with the loss of the favor of God. -- The gates of death, the grave.
Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Job xxxviii. 17.-- The second death, condemnation to eternal separation from God. Rev. ii. 11. -- To be the death of, to be the cause of death to; to make die. “It was one who should be the death of both his parents.” Milton.

Syn. -- Death, Decease, Demise, Departure, Release. Death applies to the termination of every form of existence, both animal and vegetable; the other words only to the human race. Decease is the term used in law for the removal of a human being out of life in the ordinary course of nature. Demise was formerly confined to decease of princes, but is now sometimes used of distinguished men in general; as, the demise of Mr. Pitt. Departure and release are peculiarly terms of Christian affection and hope. A violent death is not usually called a decease. Departure implies a friendly taking leave of life. Release implies a deliverance from a life of suffering or sorrow.

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definition (more)

definition of Wikipedia

synonyms - Death

see also - Death

phrases

-Black Death • Death Camas • Death Certificates • Death Domain Receptor Signaling Adaptor Proteins • Death Domain Receptors • Death Effector Domain Signaling Adaptor Proteins • Death Factors (Apoptosis) • Death Feigning • Death Inducing Signaling Complex Proteins • Death NOS • Death Penalty • Death Rate • Death Receptor 3 • Death Receptor-4 • Death Receptor-5 • Death Receptors • Death Records • Death Valley • Death from any direct obstetric cause occurring one year or more after delivery • Death from any obstetric cause occurring more than 42 days but less than one year after delivery • Death from sequelae of direct obstetric causes • Death in circumstances where the body of the deceased was found and no cause could be discovered • Death known not to be violent or instantaneous for which no cause can be discovered • Death occurring less than 24 hours from onset of symptoms, not otherwise explained • Death with Dignity • Death without sign of disease • Death, Assisted • Death, Sudden • Death, Sudden, Cardiac • at death's door • be at death's door • be at the point of death • beat to death • civil death • death adder • death angel • death announcement • death bell • death benefit • death benefits • death camas • death camp • death cap • death certificate • death chair • death chamber • death claim payment • death claims • death cup • death duties • death duty • death grant • death house • death instinct • death knell • death mask • death notice • death pangs • death penalty • death rate • death row • death seat • death sentence • death squad • death tax • death toll • death warrant • death wish • death's head • death's-head • death's-head moth • death-bed • death-roll • death-row • death-watch • face death • human death • life after death • put to death

-A Maze of Death • A Presumption of Death • A Taste for Death • A Year in the Death of Eddie Jester • Accidental Death of an Anarchist • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance • Angel of Death • Angel of Death (song) • Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act • Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 • Apparent death • Appointment with Death • B-9 Death Angel • Balsac the Jaws of Death • Between Birth and Death • Black Death • Black death • Blood Fire Death • Brain death • Brighter Death Now • Caravan of Death • Cheating death • Chitty Chitty Death Bang • Christian Death • Cinematic Death Mambo • City of Death • Clinical death • Death (DC Comics) • Death (Tarot card) • Death (cigarette) • Death (metal band) • Death Adder (comics) • Death Angels • Death Becomes Her • Death Before Dishonour • Death By Powerpoint • Death Cab for Cutie (band) • Death Certificate (album) • Death Comes as the End • Death Comes to Time • Death Cult • Death Disco • Death Eater • Death Gate • Death Gate Cycle • Death Has a Shadow • Death Hunt • Death Is a Bitch • Death Jr. • Death Knell (Stargate SG-1) • Death Line • Death Lives • Death Machine • Death Master File • Death Merchant • Death Penalty in Belarus • Death Row Records • Death Run • Death Seed • Death Star • Death Star (business) • Death Threat (band) • Death Threat (hip hop musician) • Death Tunnel • Death Valley '49ers • Death Valley (disambiguation) • Death Valley Junction, California • Death Valley pupfish • Death Wail • Death Warrant • Death Watch • Death Whoop • Death Wish II (album) • Death and Transfiguration • Death and the Maiden • Death and the Maiden (song) • Death and the Maiden song • Death by Chocolate • Death by Degrees • Death by Sexy • Death by burning • Death drive • Death education • Death effector domain • Death in Brunswick • Death in Venice • Death in absentia • Death in the Clouds • Death industrial • Death march • Death metal • Death of Carlo Giuliani • Death of a Hero • Death of a Red Heroine • Death of a Salesman • Death of a Soldier • Death of a Train • Death of the Virgin (Caravaggio) • Death of the West (Babylon Whores album) • Death on Credit • Death on the Road • Death on the Road (album) • Death on the Rock • Death rates in the 20th century • Death roll • Death spiral • Death squad • Death sticks • Death watch • Death-MetalGreymon • Death-Ogremon • Death-qualified jury • Death-related humor • Drums of Death • Esoteric Emotions – The Death of Ignorance • Freedom or Death • Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death • Half Life Half Death • Henry Thomas (suspected combustion death) • Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) • I Love You to Death • In Death • Instant Death • Into the Valley of Death • Killed by Death (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) • Killed by Death (song) • Kiss of Death (1947 movie) • Kiss of Death (1995 movie) • Lady Death • Last Miracle and the Death of St. Zenobius (Botticelli) • Legions of Death • Lesbian bed death • Lesbien bed death • Let's Scare Jessica to Death • Libertarian perspectives on the death penalty • Life After Death • Life After Death and Taxes (Failure II) • Life and Death of an American Fourtracker • Life-death-rebirth deity • List of United States disasters by death toll • Live After Death (video) • Live from Death Row • Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death • Marked for Death • Napalm Death • Near Death Experiences • Neon genesis evangelion death and rebirth • Payable on Death Live • Permanent death • Ping of death • Pleasure Death • Responsibility for the death of Jesus • Rumours of the death of Saddam Hussein • Scared to Death • Shades Of Death Road • Simultaneous death • Social Security Death Index • Sonic Death • Southern Death Cult • Stockholders in Death • Sudden Death • Swedish death metal • Symphonic Death Metal • Symphonic death metal • Texas Students Against the Death Penalty • The Ambassadors of Death • The Death Trap • The Death and Life of Great American Cities • The Death of Britain? • The Death of Grass • The Death of Hope • The Death of Jean DeWolff • The Death of Me • The Death of Virgil • The Death of Yugoslavia • The Death of a Dictionary • The Death of the West • The Frosted Death • The Girl Who Was... Death • The Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey • The Life and Death of King John • The Life and Death of Peter Sellers • The Mad Death • The Masque of the Red Death • The Merchant of Death • The Paradise of Death • The Pearl of Death • The Very Best of Death Row • The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis • Till Death Us Do Part (British TV series) • Total Death • Trials of Death • Unnatural Death • Unnatural death • Victory or death • Wake of Death • World Burns to Death • Wrongful death claim • Yeah! Yeah! Die! Die! Death Metal Symphony in Deep C

analogical dictionary



factotum[Domaine]

Killing[Domaine]

death (n.)


 

fin d'une durée (fr)[Classe]

die; decease; perish; go; exit; pass away; expire; pass; pass on; depart this life; become extinct; die out; kick the bucket; cash in one's chips; buy the farm; conk; give-up the ghost; drop dead; pop off; choke; croak; snuff it[ClasseHyper.]

(dead; late; disappeared), (die; decease; perish; go; exit; pass away; expire; pass; pass on; depart this life; become extinct; die out; kick the bucket; cash in one's chips; buy the farm; conk; give-up the ghost; drop dead; pop off; choke; croak; snuff it), (be dying; be at death's door; be within an ace of death; be at the point of death; be close to death; be near death; face death; be as good as dead), (soft leather), (death; dying; demise), (life insurance; life assurance), (dying), (last will), (mortal), (deathrate; death rate; mortality; mortality rate; fatality rate; birth rate/death rate)[Thème]

factotum[Domaine]

Process[Domaine]

biology[Domaine]

Death[Domaine]

Birth[Domaine]

happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent - change state, turn - endure, suffer - alteration, change, modification, transformation[Hyper.]

change - alter, change, vary - alter, change, modify - modify - death - departure, exit, expiration, going, loss, passing, release - death, decease, end, expiry - Death - dead man, dead person, dead soul, dead woman, deceased, deceased person, decedent, departed - death - death - death, last - bear, birth, deliver, give birth, have - nascent[Dérivé]

dead, disappeared, late[Devenir+Attrib.]

break, break down, conk out, die, fail, give out, give way, go, go bad - die - become extinct, buy the farm, cash in one's chips, choke, conk, croak, decease, depart this life, die, die out, drop dead, exit, expire, give-up the ghost, go, kick the bucket, pass, pass away, pass on, perish, pop off, snuff it[Domaine]

be born[Ant.]

death; dying; demise[Classe]

factotum[Domaine]

Death[Domaine]

death (n.)





time_period[Domaine]

Death[Domaine]

death (n.)



death (n.)


Wikipedia

Death

                   
  A human skull, widely used as a symbol of death

Death is the cessation or permanent termination of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, suicide, murder and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury. All known organisms inevitably experience death.[1] Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death.

In human societies, the nature of death has for millennia been a concern of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical inquiry. This may include a belief in some kind of resurrection (associated with Abrahamic religions), reincarnation (associated with Dharmic religions), or that consciousness permanently ceases to exist, known as "oblivion" (often associated with atheism).[2]

Commemoration ceremonies after death may include various mourning or funeral practices. The physical remains of a person, commonly known as a corpse or body, are usually interred whole or cremated, though among the world's cultures there are a variety of other methods of mortuary disposal.

Contents

  Etymology

The word death comes from Old English deað, which in turn comes from Proto-Germanic *dauþaz (reconstructed by etymological analysis).[citation needed] This comes from the Proto-Indo-European stem *dheu- meaning the 'Process, act, condition of dying'.

  Associated terms

The concept and symptoms of death, and varying degrees of delicacy used in discussion in public forums, have generated numerous scientific, legal, and socially acceptable terms or euphemisms for death. When a person has died, it is also said they have passed away, passed on, or expired, among numerous other socially accepted, religiously specific, slang, and irreverent terms. Bereft of life, the dead person is then a corpse, cadaver, a body, a set of remains, and finally a skeleton. The terms carrion and carcass can also be used, though these more often connote the remains of non-human animals. As a polite reference to a dead person, it has become common practice to use the participle form of "decease", as in the deceased; the noun form is decedent. The ashes left after a cremation are sometimes referred to by the neologism cremains, a portmanteau of "cremation" and "remains".

  Senescence

  A dead Eurasian Magpie

Almost all animals who survive external hazards to their biological functioning eventually die from senescence. The only known exception is the jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula, thought to be, in effect, immortal.[3] Unnatural causes of death include suicide and homicide. From all causes, roughly 150,000 people die around the world each day.[4]

Physiological death is now seen as a process, more than an event: conditions once considered indicative of death are now reversible.[5] Where in the process a dividing line is drawn between life and death depends on factors beyond the presence or absence of vital signs. In general, clinical death is neither necessary nor sufficient for a determination of legal death. A patient with working heart and lungs determined to be brain dead can be pronounced legally dead without clinical death occurring. Paradoxically, as scientific knowledge and medicine advance, a precise medical definition of death becomes more problematic.[6]

  Signs of death

Signs of death or strong indications that an animal is no longer alive are:

  • Cessation of breathing
  • Cardiac arrest (No pulse)
  • Pallor mortis, paleness which happens in the 15–120 minutes after death
  • Livor mortis, a settling of the blood in the lower (dependent) portion of the body
  • Algor mortis, the reduction in body temperature following death. This is generally a steady decline until matching ambient temperature
  • Rigor mortis, the limbs of the corpse become stiff (Latin rigor) and difficult to move or manipulate
  • Decomposition, the reduction into simpler forms of matter, accompanied by a strong, unpleasant odor.

  Diagnosis

  Problems of definition

  A flower, a skull and an hourglass stand for Life, Death and Time in this 17th-century painting by Philippe de Champaigne
  French - 16th/17th century ivory pendant, Monk and Death, recalling mortality and the certainty of death (Walters Art Museum)

The concept of death is a key to human understanding of the phenomenon.[7] There are many scientific approaches to the concept. For example, brain death, as practiced in medical science, defines death as a point in time at which brain activity ceases.[7][8][9][10] One of the challenges in defining death is in distinguishing it from life. As a point in time, death would seem to refer to the moment at which life ends. However, determining when death has occurred requires drawing precise conceptual boundaries between life and death. This is problematic because there is little consensus over how to define life. It is possible to define life in terms of consciousness. When consciousness ceases, a living organism can be said to have died. One of the notable flaws in this approach, however, is that there are many organisms which are alive but probably not conscious (for example, single-celled organisms). Another problem with this approach is in defining consciousness, which has many different definitions given by modern scientists, psychologists and philosophers. This general problem of defining death applies to the particular challenge of defining death in the context of medicine.

Other definitions for death focus on the character of cessation of something.[11] In this context "death" describes merely the state where something has ceased, for example, life. Thus, the definition of "life" simultaneously defines death.

Historically, attempts to define the exact moment of a human's death have been problematic. Death was once defined as the cessation of heartbeat (cardiac arrest) and of breathing, but the development of CPR and prompt defibrillation have rendered that definition inadequate because breathing and heartbeat can sometimes be restarted. Events which were causally linked to death in the past no longer kill in all circumstances; without a functioning heart or lungs, life can sometimes be sustained with a combination of life support devices, organ transplants and artificial pacemakers.

Today, where a definition of the moment of death is required, doctors and coroners usually turn to "brain death" or "biological death" to define a person as being clinically dead; people are considered dead when the electrical activity in their brain ceases. It is presumed that an end of electrical activity indicates the end of consciousness. However, suspension of consciousness must be permanent, and not transient, as occurs during certain sleep stages, and especially a coma. In the case of sleep, EEGs can easily tell the difference.

However, the category of "brain death" is seen by some scholars to be problematic. For instance, Dr. Franklin Miller, senior faculty member at the Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, notes: "By the late 1990s, however, the equation of brain death with death of the human being was increasingly challenged by scholars, based on evidence regarding the array of biological functioning displayed by patients correctly diagnosed as having this condition who were maintained on mechanical ventilation for substantial periods of time. These patients maintained the ability to sustain circulation and respiration, control temperature, excrete wastes, heal wounds, fight infections and, most dramatically, to gestate fetuses (in the case of pregnant "brain-dead" women)."[12]

Those people maintaining that only the neo-cortex of the brain is necessary for consciousness sometimes argue that only electrical activity should be considered when defining death. Eventually it is possible that the criterion for death will be the permanent and irreversible loss of cognitive function, as evidenced by the death of the cerebral cortex. All hope of recovering human thought and personality is then gone given current and foreseeable medical technology. However, at present, in most places the more conservative definition of death – irreversible cessation of electrical activity in the whole brain, as opposed to just in the neo-cortex – has been adopted (for example the Uniform Determination Of Death Act in the United States). In 2005, the Terri Schiavo case brought the question of brain death and artificial sustenance to the front of American politics.

Even by whole-brain criteria, the determination of brain death can be complicated. EEGs can detect spurious electrical impulses, while certain drugs, hypoglycemia, hypoxia, or hypothermia can suppress or even stop brain activity on a temporary basis. Because of this, hospitals have protocols for determining brain death involving EEGs at widely separated intervals under defined conditions.

In certain cultures, death is more of a process than a single event. It implies a slow shift from one spiritual state to another.[13]

  Legal

  A dead Confederate soldier sprawled out in Petersburg, Virginia, 1865, during the American Civil War

In the United States, a person is dead by law if a Statement of Death or Death certificate is approved by a licensed medical practitioner. Various legal consequences follow death, including the removal from the person of what in legal terminology is called personhood.

The possession of brain activities, or capability to resume brain activity, is a necessary condition to legal personhood in the United States. "It appears that once brain death has been determined ... no criminal or civil liability will result from disconnecting the life-support devices." (Dority v. Superior Court of San Bernardino County, 193 Cal.Rptr. 288, 291 (1983))

  Misdiagnosed

There are many anecdotal references to people being declared dead by physicians and then "coming back to life", sometimes days later in their own coffin, or when embalming procedures are about to begin. From the mid-18th century onwards, there was an upsurge in the public's fear of being mistakenly buried alive,[14] and much debate about the uncertainty of the signs of death. Various suggestions were made to test for signs of life before burial, ranging from pouring vinegar and pepper into the corpse's mouth to applying red hot pokers to the feet or into the rectum.[15] Writing in 1895, the physician J.C. Ouseley claimed that as many as 2,700 people were buried prematurely each year in England and Wales, although others estimated the figure to be closer to 800.[16]

In cases of electric shock, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for an hour or longer can allow stunned nerves to recover, allowing an apparently dead person to survive. People found unconscious under icy water may survive if their faces are kept continuously cold until they arrive at an emergency room.[17] This "diving response", in which metabolic activity and oxygen requirements are minimal, is something humans share with cetaceans called the mammalian diving reflex.[17]

As medical technologies advance, ideas about when death occurs may have to be re-evaluated in light of the ability to restore a person to vitality after longer periods of apparent death (as happened when CPR and defibrillation showed that cessation of heartbeat is inadequate as a decisive indicator of death). The lack of electrical brain activity may not be enough to consider someone scientifically dead. Therefore, the concept of information theoretical death has been suggested as a better means of defining when true death occurs, though the concept has few practical applications outside of the field of cryonics.

There have been some scientific attempts to bring dead organisms back to life, but with limited success.[18] In science fiction scenarios where such technology is readily available, real death is distinguished from reversible death.

  Causes

The leading cause of death in developing countries is infectious disease. The leading causes of death in developed countries are atherosclerosis (heart disease and stroke), cancer, and other diseases related to obesity and aging. These conditions cause loss of homeostasis, leading to cardiac arrest, causing loss of oxygen and nutrient supply, causing irreversible deterioration of the brain and other tissues. Of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds die of age-related causes.[4] In industrialized nations, the proportion is much higher, reaching 90%.[4] With improved medical capability, dying has become a condition to be managed. Home deaths, once commonplace, are now rare in the developed world.

  The body of Pope John Paul II lying in state in St. Peter's Basilica, 2005

In developing nations, inferior sanitary conditions and lack of access to modern medical technology makes death from infectious diseases more common than in developed countries. One such disease is tuberculosis, a bacterial disease which killed 1.7 million people in 2004.[19] Malaria causes about 400–900 million cases of fever and 1–3 million deaths annually.[20] AIDS death toll in Africa may reach 90–100 million by 2025.[21][22]

According to Jean Ziegler, who was the United Nations Special reporter on the Right to Food from 2000 to March 2008, mortality due to malnutrition accounted for 58% of the total mortality rate in 2006. Ziegler says worldwide approximately 62 million people died from all causes and of those deaths more than 36 million died of hunger or diseases due to deficiencies in micronutrients.[23]

Tobacco smoking killed 100 million people worldwide in the 20th century and could kill 1 billion people around the world in the 21st century, a WHO Report warned.[24][25]

Many leading developed world causes of death can be postponed by diet and physical activity, but the accelerating incidence of disease with age still imposes limits on human longevity. The evolutionary cause of aging is, at best, only just beginning to be understood. It has been suggested that direct intervention in the aging process may now be the most effective intervention against major causes of death.[26]

  Autopsy

An autopsy, also known as a postmortem examination or an obduction, is a medical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a human corpse to determine the cause and manner of a person's death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. It is usually performed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist.

  An autopsy is portrayed in The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, by Rembrandt

Autopsies are either performed for legal or medical purposes. A forensic autopsy is carried out when the cause of death may be a criminal matter, while a clinical or academic autopsy is performed to find the medical cause of death and is used in cases of unknown or uncertain death, or for research purposes. Autopsies can be further classified into cases where external examination suffices, and those where the body is dissected and an internal examination is conducted. Permission from next of kin may be required for internal autopsy in some cases. Once an internal autopsy is complete the body is generally reconstituted by sewing it back together. Autopsy is important in a medical environment and may shed light on mistakes and help improve practices.

A "necropsy" is an older term for a postmortem examination, unregulated, and not always a medical procedure. In modern times the term is more often used in the postmortem examination of the corpses of animals.

  Life extension

Life extension refers to an increase in maximum or average lifespan, especially in humans, by slowing down or reversing the processes of aging. Average lifespan is determined by vulnerability to accidents and age or lifestyle-related afflictions such as cancer, or cardiovascular disease. Extension of average lifespan can be achieved by good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking. Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes. Currently, the only widely recognized method of extending maximum lifespan is calorie restriction. Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan can be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage, by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, or by molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues.

Researchers of life extension are a subclass of biogerontologists known as "biomedical gerontologists". They try to understand the nature of aging and they develop treatments to reverse aging processes or to at least slow them down, for the improvement of health and the maintenance of youthful vigor at every stage of life. Those who take advantage of life extension findings and seek to apply them upon themselves are called "life extensionists" or "longevists". The primary life extension strategy currently is to apply available anti-aging methods in the hope of living long enough to benefit from a complete cure to aging once it is developed.

  Location

Before about 1930, most people in Western countries died in their own homes, surrounded by family, and comforted by clergy, neighbors, and doctors making house calls.[27] By the mid-20th century, half of all Americans died in a hospital.[28] By the start of the 21st century, only about 20 to 25% of people in developed countries died outside of a medical institution.[28][29][30] The shift away from dying at home, towards dying in a professionalized medical environment, has been termed the "Invisible Death".[28]

  Society and culture

  The regent duke Charles (later king Charles IX of Sweden) insulting the corpse of Klaus Fleming. Albert Edelfelt, 1878.
  Dead bodies can be mummified either naturally, as this one from Guanajuato, or by intention, as those in ancient Egypt.

Death is the center of many traditions and organizations; customs relating to death are a feature of every culture around the world. Much of this revolves around the care of the dead, as well as the afterlife and the disposal of bodies upon the onset of death. The disposal of human corpses does, in general, begin with the last offices before significant time has passed, and ritualistic ceremonies often occur, most commonly interment or cremation. This is not a unified practice; in Tibet, for instance, the body is given a sky burial and left on a mountain top. Proper preparation for death and techniques and ceremonies for producing the ability to transfer one's spiritual attainments into another body (reincarnation) are subjects of detailed study in Tibet.[31] Mummification or embalming is also prevalent in some cultures, to retard the rate of decay.

Legal aspects of death are also part of many cultures, particularly the settlement of the deceased estate and the issues of inheritance and in some countries, inheritance taxation.

  Gravestones in Kyoto, Japan

Capital punishment is also a culturally divisive aspect of death. In most jurisdictions where capital punishment is carried out today, the death penalty is reserved for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries, sexual crimes, such as adultery and sodomy, carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes such as apostasy, the formal renunciation of one's religion. In many retentionist countries, drug trafficking is also a capital offense. In China human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are also punished by the death penalty. In militaries around the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offenses such as cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny.[32]

Death in warfare and in suicide attack also have cultural links, and the ideas of dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, mutiny punishable by death, grieving relatives of dead soldiers and death notification are embedded in many cultures. Recently in the western world, with the supposed increase in terrorism following the September 11 attacks, but also further back in time with suicide bombings, kamikaze missions in World War II and suicide missions in a host of other conflicts in history, death for a cause by way of suicide attack, and martyrdom have had significant cultural impacts.

Suicide in general, and particularly euthanasia, are also points of cultural debate. Both acts are understood very differently in different cultures. In Japan, for example, ending a life with honor by seppuku was considered a desirable death, whereas according to traditional Christian and Islamic cultures, suicide is viewed as a sin. Death is personified in many cultures, with such symbolic representations as the Grim Reaper, Azrael and Father Time.

  In biology

After death the remains of an organism become part of the biogeochemical cycle. Animals may be consumed by a predator or a scavenger. Organic material may then be further decomposed by detritivores, organisms which recycle detritus, returning it to the environment for reuse in the food chain. Examples of detritivores include earthworms, woodlice and dung beetles.

Microorganisms also play a vital role, raising the temperature of the decomposing matter as they break it down into yet simpler molecules. Not all materials need to be decomposed fully, however. Coal, a fossil fuel formed over vast tracts of time in swamp ecosystems, is one example.

  Natural selection

Contemporary evolutionary theory sees death as an important part of the process of natural selection. It is considered that organisms less adapted to their environment are more likely to die having produced fewer offspring, thereby reducing their contribution to the gene pool. Their genes are thus eventually bred out of a population, leading at worst to extinction and, more positively, making the process possible, referred to as speciation. Frequency of reproduction plays an equally important role in determining species survival: an organism that dies young but leaves numerous offspring displays, according to Darwinian criteria, much greater fitness than a long-lived organism leaving only one.

  Extinction

  A dodo, the bird that became a byword in English for species extinction[33]

Extinction is the cessation of existence of a species or group of taxa, reducing biodiversity. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of that species (although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point). Because a species' potential range may be very large, determining this moment is difficult, and is usually done retrospectively. This difficulty leads to phenomena such as Lazarus taxa, where species presumed extinct abruptly "reappear" (typically in the fossil record) after a period of apparent absence. New species arise through the process of speciation, an aspect of evolution. New varieties of organisms arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche – and species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition.

  Evolution of ageing

Inquiry into the evolution of aging aims to explain why so many living things and the vast majority of animals weaken and die with age (a notable exception being hydra, which may be biologically immortal). The evolutionary origin of senescence remains one of the fundamental puzzles of biology. Gerontology specializes in the science of human aging processes.

  See also

  References

  1. ^ Zimmerman, Leda (19 October 2010). "Must all organisms age and die?". Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Engineering. Archived from the original on 01 November 2010. http://engineering.mit.edu/live/news/1223-must-all-organisms-age-and-die. Retrieved 05 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Handbook to the Afterlife retrieved 12 April 2012
  3. ^ "Turritopsis nutricula (Immortal jellyfish)". Jellyfishfacts.net. http://www.jellyfishfacts.net/turritopsis-nutricula-immortal-jellyfish.html. 
  4. ^ a b c Aubrey D.N.J, de Grey (2007). "Life Span Extension Research and Public Debate: Societal Considerations" (PDF). Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 1 (1, Article 5). DOI:10.2202/1941-6008.1011. http://www.sens.org/files/pdf/ENHANCE-PP.pdf. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  5. ^ Crippen, David. "Brain Failure and Brain Death". ACS Surgery Online, Critical Care, April 2005. Archived from the original on 24 June 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060624132446/http://www.acssurgery.com/abstracts/acs/acs0812.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  6. ^ Artishevsky, Alexander (2010). Life Death Whatever. Createspace. ISBN 978-1-4495-9420-6. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Death-Whatever-Alexander-Artishevsky/dp/1449594204. 
  7. ^ a b Mohammad Samir Hossain and Peter Gilbert. 2010. Concepts of Death: A key to our adjustment. Illness, Crisis and Loss, Vol 18. No 1
  8. ^ Additional Lifespan Development Topics McGraw-Hill Companies
  9. ^ Human Immortality; Death and Adjustment Hypotheses Elaborated. Book Review by Dr. Peter Fenwick
  10. ^ Facing the finality – Death and Adjustment Hypotheses Dr. Mohammad Samir Hossain, 2009
  11. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  12. ^ FG Miller "Death and organ donation: back to the future" Journal of Medical Ethics 2009;35:616-620
  13. ^ 1991 Metcalf, Peter & Richard Huntington. Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual. Cambridge Press, New York. Print.
  14. ^ Bondeson 2001, p. 77
  15. ^ Bondeson 2001, pp. 56, 71.
  16. ^ Bondeson 2001, p. 239
  17. ^ a b Limmer, D. et al. (2006). Emergency care (AHA update, Ed. 10e). Prentice Hall.
  18. ^ "Blood Swapping Reanimates Dead Dogs". Foxnews.com. 2005-06-28. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160903,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  19. ^ World Health Organization (WHO). Tuberculosis Fact sheet N°104 – Global and regional incidence. March 2006, Retrieved on 6 October 2006.
  20. ^ Chris Thomas, Global Health/Health Infectious Diseases and Nutrition (2009-06-02). "USAID's Malaria Programs". Usaid.gov. http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/mch/ch/techareas/malaria_brief.html. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  21. ^ "Aids could kill 90 million Africans, says UN". London: Guardian. 2005-03-04. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/mar/04/aids. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  22. ^ AIDS Toll May Reach 100 Million in Africa, Washington Post
  23. ^ Jean Ziegler, L'Empire de la honte, Fayard, 2007 ISBN 978-2-253-12115-2 p.130.
  24. ^ "Tobacco Could Kill One Billion By 2100, World Health Organization Report Warns". Sciencedaily.com. 2008-02-11. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080210092031.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  25. ^ "Tobacco could kill more than 1 billion this century: World Health Organization". Abc.net.au. 2008-02-08. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/08/2157587.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  26. ^ SJ Olshanksy et al. (2006). "Longevity dividend: What should we be doing to prepare for the unprecedented aging of humanity?". The Scientist 20: 28–36. http://www.grg.org/resources/TheScientist.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  27. ^ Ariès, Philippe (1974). Western attitudes toward death: from the Middle Ages to the present. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 87–89. ISBN 0-8018-1762-5. 
  28. ^ a b c Nuland, Sherwin B. (1994). How we die: Reflections on life's final chapter. New York: A.A. Knopf. pp. 254255. ISBN 0-679-41461-4. 
  29. ^ Ahmad S, O'Mahony MS (December 2005). "Where older people die: a retrospective population-based study". QJM 98 (12): 865–70. DOI:10.1093/qjmed/hci138. PMID 16299059. 
  30. ^ Cassel CK, Demel B (September 2001). "Remembering death: public policy in the USA". J R Soc Med 94 (9): 433–6. PMC 1282180. PMID 11535743. //www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1282180. 
  31. ^ Mullin 1999
  32. ^ "Shot at Dawn, campaign for pardons for British and Commonwealth soldiers executed in World War I". Shot at Dawn Pardons Campaign. http://www.shotatdawn.org.uk/. Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  33. ^ Diamond, Jared (1999). "Up to the Starting Line". Guns, Germs, and Steel. W. W. Norton. pp. 43–44. ISBN 0-393-31755-2. 
Bibliography
  • Bondeson, Jan (2001). Buried Alive: the Terrifying History of our Most Primal Fear. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04906-X 
  • Mullin, Glenn H. (2008) [1998]. Living in the Face of Death: The Tibetan Tradition. Ithica, New York: Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 978-1-55939-310-2 

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Preceded by
Old age
Stages of human development
Death
Succeeded by
Decomposition
   
               

 

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