Over the years, the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBDS) has provided an excellent resource to support advocacy for injury prevention research. The Lancet has recently published (Dec 14, 2012) findings from the latest GBDS funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The GBDS 2010 focused on comparing estimated mortality and morbidity trends between 1990 and 2010. The strengths of GBDS 2010 include increased number of diseases and risk factors studied as well as computing 95% uncertainty levels (the authors’ preferred name for 95% confidence intervals) of the estimated frequencies of diseases and injuries in 1990 and 2010.
In terms of major causes of injury deaths, the recent report’s findings paralleled previous ones; road traffic injuries (RTIs) accounted for 28%, self-harm 17%, falls 11%, and interpersonal violence 9% of all injury deaths estimated at 5.07 million in 2010 (95% uncertainty interval=4.55-5.54). Injury death counts increased by one-quarter though some injury causes increased disproportionately. RTIs, for instance, increased by almost one half from 1990 to 2010. RTIs are now ranked as No. 8 for global mortality causes. Similarly, suicides have increased by a third and are ranked as the 13th mortality cause globally. Injury deaths due to falls have increased by more than half and have jumped from 30th mortality cause in 1990 to 22nd in 2010. Exposure to forces of nature seems to be the “unfortunate” winner here, increasing by almost 535% from 1990 to 2010.
I think that a detailed review of GBDS 2010 findings for setting the next injury prevention research agenda is a must. Age, sex and geographic region-wise distributions readily provide foundation for targeting injury prevention research in vulnerable populations. I encourage you to take account of GBD 2010 injury statistics in your upcoming grants, manuscripts, and research advocacy activities.
Of interest, several related podcasts of panel discussions on these findings moderated by Drs. Christopher L. Murray and Richard Horton are available on the Lancet website. [http://www.thelancet.com/lancet-audio-2012/]