291 diseases and injuries + 67 risk factors + 1,160 non-fatal complications = 650 million estimates of how we age, sicken, and die
December 14, 2012 11:08 AM Subscribe
As humans live longer, what ails us isn't necessarily what kills us
posted by hat (11 comments total)
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: five data visualizations
of how we age, sicken, and die. Causes of death
by age, sex, region, and year. Heat map of leading causes and risks
by region. Changes in leading causes and risks
between 1990 and 2010. Healthy years lost to disability vs. life expectancy
in 1990 and 2010. Uncertainties of causes and risks
. From the team for the massive Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010
The data visualizations page
also includes a large number of static figures from the GBD 2010 study
The GBD 2010 team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
(IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, "spent almost 5 years building
[the database of causes of death]; we have included almost 800 million deaths from 1950 to 2010, and the data come from different sources
," resulting in "the biggest database for cause of death analysis in the world
," according to Rafael Lozano at the University of Washington.
The GBD 2010 includes
- 291 diseases and injuries
- 67 risk factors
- 1,160 sequelae (nonfatal health consequences)
- Estimates for 21 regions
- Estimates for 20 age groups
Takeaway points from the press release (emphasis mine)
- Child mortality has dropped by more than 60%, falling "so quickly that it has beaten every published prediction," though diarrhea and other infectious diseases still kill well over a million children under the age of 5 every year.
- Deaths among adults aged 15 to 49 increased by 44% between 1970 and 2010, "in part because of increases in violence and the ongoing challenge of HIV/AIDS."
- Undernutrition has "successfully been cut by two-thirds," and now physical inactivity and macronutrient overnutrition contribute to a 10%-and-rising fraction of the disease burden.
- The trends identified in GBD 2010 occur across regions with one notable exception: sub-Saharan Africa, where infectious diseases, childhood illnesses, and maternal causes of death account for as much as 70% of the burden of disease. By comparison, these conditions account for only one-third of the burden in south Asia and Oceania, and less than 20% in all other regions.
from the main publication summary (emphasis mine)
- In 2010, the three leading risk factors for global disease burden were high blood pressure [...]; followed by tobacco smoking, including secondhand smoke [...]; and alcohol use [...] This reflects a substantial change from 1990 when the leading risk factors were childhood underweight [...]; followed by household air pollution from use of solid fuels [...]; and tobacco smoking, including secondhand smoke [...].
- Regional differences are significant. While much of the world is burdened by obesity and high body mass index, underweight is still the leading risk factor in sub‐Saharan Africa. Other prevalent risk factors in the region include household air pollution and nonexclusive and discontinued breastfeeding.
- Although child undernutrition has fallen significantly as a risk factor for all ages, it remained the leading risk factor worldwide in 2010 for children under 5, accounting for 12.4% of global DALYs [disability‐adjusted life years], followed by nonexclusive or discontinued breastfeeding at 7.6%.
- A number of risks that primarily affect childhood communicable diseases, including unsafe water and sanitation and micronutrient deficiencies, declined in significance in the past 20 years, with unsafe water and sanitation accounting for only 0.9% of global DALYs in 2010.
- At the same time, GBD 2010 findings show the importance of household air pollution from solid fuels and ambient particulate matter pollution as major risk factors. One or both rank in the top 10 as causes of disease burden in 13 of the 21 regions. In south Asia, they are the leading cause of burden.
From the Guardian's reporting
Since 1970 the largest gains in life expectancy have taken place in the Maldives (27.3 years for men and 29.4 years for women) and improvements in life expectancy at birth in excess of 20 years were recorded in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, and Peru. But life expectancy fell by one to seven years in Zimbabwe and Lesotho, where populations were severely affected by HIV/Aids, and for men in Ukraine and Belarus, where an alcohol crisis took hold.
If you'd like to read the papers themselves, the full text is currently available for free
(but registration required) at The Lancet
In addition to the data visualizations
, the IHME provides GBD 2010 publication summaries
Each of the data visualizations again:
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation adds
The findings are being announced at the Royal Society in London on Dec. 14 and published in The Lancet, the first time the journal has dedicated an entire triple issue to one study.
includes The story of GBD 2010: a “super-human” effort
“Running the programs to map the data to our cause list of 291 causes and correcting the bias can take days, even using a powerful cluster of more than 100 computers. The data that we have to store after the modelling process can take 3 terabytes.” [Rafael] Lozano estimates that the storage needed for the causes of death data was 400 times bigger than that for GBD 1990 [...]
Majid Ezzati, chair in global and environmental health at the School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK, told The Lancet,
As researchers, we tend to believe that more ‘data’ are better than less. I still believe so. But more data, but not all the perfect data we could wish for, means that we need to fundamentally think differently about when to stop searching for more and how to use it [...] The study brought out the well-known but far too frequently overlooked issue that people of different scientific traditions—clinicians, basic scientists, epidemiologists, and quantitative scientists—think and speak differently about the same problem. This can of course be a very powerful resource for bringing together different ways of looking at a problem and solving in the most comprehensive and interesting way—a true systems approach. It can also be a challenge, and at times a source of tension.
(Previously on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: Is there a market for years?