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Researchers say death is essentially

unavoidable for anyone related to a

person that has died.



BOSTON—Pinpointing the phenomenon as the single greatest predictor of human mortality, a paper

published Wednesday in The New England Journal Of Medicine has found that people with deceased

family members run an extremely high risk of dying themselves.

The groundbreaking study, which tracked the health and well-being of 85,000 subjects over a period of 40

years, discovered that people who have one or more relatives who have passed away are very likely, one

day, to die as well.

“It appears that individuals with a family history of death have a strong genetic predisposition toward

dying,” said the paper’s lead author, Dr. Samantha Booth, who explained that the finding held true

regardless of a subject’s race, nationality, gender, or socioeconomic status. “Based on anecdotal evidence,

we’ve long suspected an inherited trait could play a major role in determining whether a person dies, but

we were surprised to see just how strong the correlation truly is.”

“Unfortunately, for members of this cohort, death appears to be all but inevitable,” she continued.

According to the study’s authors, the likelihood of future mortality remains high regardless of whether

one’s immediate family members have died, or whether only more distant relations have passed on. Based

on their findings, researchers hypothesize that death is handed down through individual lineages,

becoming a devastating family curse that is passed from parent to child and which tends not to skip a


In addition, a separate study of some 8,000 individuals who died in the Hartford, CT area found that

every one of the deceased had ancestors who had died before them, further suggesting a family link.

While people from afflicted lineages can reportedly prolong their lives by developing healthy habits such

as a nutritious diet and regular exercise, researchers stated that, in the end, no matter how many

precautions they take, their genetic susceptibility to dying will win out.

“We recommend alerting your doctor if there’s a history of death in your family, and if you aren’t certain,

you should ask your parents if they know of any fatalities among your relatives,” Booth said. “This is also

important information to know before deciding to have children yourself. Even if your own family is alive

and well, it’s possible there is death somewhere in your partner’s ancestry.”

“If you have a grandparent or even a great-grandparent who has died, then sadly, the odds of your kids

eventually dying are quite high,” she added.

When reached for comment, several of the study’s participants acknowledged they had at least one

deceased family member, and expressed their fear and concern to reporters.

“I feel perfectly healthy now, but knowing that my father died definitely makes me worry that the same

thing could happen to me one day,” said Randy Lewis, a 49-year-old who took part in the study. “But my

mom is still alive, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I take after her side of the family.”

Added Lewis, “Unfortunately, I can only wait and see.”


Published in The Onion,

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  • BelieveInGrief

    Everyone on this blog – I want to APPLAUD Heal Grief for posting this. I saw this originally posted on and it was mentioned by Anderson Cooper a few weeks ago. I have grieved for the past 10 years for the death of my father, my brother and most recently, my mother. All I have wanted is for a national conversation to begin about the life cycle of death and how it is important to know that EVERYONE will be touched by death – either their own or the lose of a loved one. What is important about Heal Grief posting this is that this site, more than other that I have tried to look to for comfort, has provided the ‘real deal’ when it comes to facing grief and living through it. What was good about this post is that, when I shared it, I got people who understood that I was trying to bring a spotlight to a very sensitive subject. This is the same thing that Anderson Cooper was trying to do. We are not always going to agree with what is posted on social media, but at least we must understand that, through freedom of speech, we are able to bring about new conversations.

  • SandyS

    I think this is so hysterical. It made me chuckle and it certainly confirms my destiny…Haha

  • Marlene Potgieter

    I am sure this is a joke, right? It is common knowledge that every person that is born, will also die at some point. In all the thousands of years, nobody got to live forever.

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