Deadly combination: New direct trigger for cell death discovered

Scientists led by Professor Ana J. Garcia-Saez at the CECAD Cluster of Excellence for Aging Research at the University of Cologne have shown that apoptosis, the programmed cell death, involves a direct physical interplay ...

Understanding how autoactivation triggers cell death

Apoptosis is a process that causes cell death. It can go awry in cancer cells, sustaining the disease. Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have captured the structure of BAK, a protein that triggers apoptosis. ...

A record 1,101 Florida manatees died in 2021. When will it end?

TAMPA, Fla.—It's been clear for months that 2021 would be the deadliest year on record for Florida's manatees. When the death count surpassed 1,000 in November, experts sounded the alarm, fearing the toll the winter months ...

Health impacts of air pollution from Australian megafires

From October 2019 to February 2020, fire ripped through the Australian bush with unprecedented intensity, killing 34 people and more than 3 billion animals. In a new study, Graham et al. seek to quantify the health impacts ...

Cold still causes far more deaths than heat in India

A study of the correlation between temperature and mortality in the Indian city of Pune has found that cold, rather than heat, is by far the bigger killer. This is at odds with warnings and mitigating measures authorities ...

Microorganism sheds new light on cancer resistance

A simple, marine-dwelling creature known as Trichoplax adhaerens has some remarkable properties. The organism can tolerate unusually high doses of radiation that would kill most other forms of life. T. adhaerens has another ...

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Death

Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. It refers to both a particular event and to the condition that results thereby. The true nature of the latter has for millennia been a central concern of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical enquiry. Many religions maintain faith in either some kind of afterlife or reincarnation. The effect of physical death on any possible mind or soul remains for many an open question.

Animals almost without exception (see hydra) die in due course from senescence. Intervening phenomena which commonly bring death earlier include malnutrition, predation, disease, accidents resulting in terminal physical injury, or, in extreme circumstances, grave ecosystem disruption. Intentional human activity causing death includes suicide, homicide, and war. Roughly 150,000 people die each day across the globe. Death in the natural world can also occur as an indirect result of human activity: an increasing cause of species depletion in recent times has been destruction of ecological systems as a consequence of the widening spread of industrial technology.

Death in this context is now seen as less an event than a process: conditions once considered indicative of death are now reversible. 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. Precise medical definition of death, in other words, becomes more problematic, paradoxically, as scientific knowledge and technology advance.

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