- The causes that rank highest in global rankings of YLLs, such as lower respiratory diseases, ischemic heart disease, and stroke, are in the top 10 causes of premature death in almost all regions in 2010.
- The massive impact of HIV/AIDS on mortality in most developing regions can be seen in how it ranks in 2010, with north Africa and Middle East, east Asia, central Asia, and southern Latin America being notable exceptions.
- Malaria is a leading global cause but a minor cause in most regions outside sub‐Saharan Africa and Oceania.
- Road injury is a remarkably consistent cause of YLLs. Its lowest regional ranking is 19th in Oceania and it is in the top five causes in eight regions.
- All the neonatal causes and tuberculosis are important causes in some developing regions but relatively minor causes in many regions.
- Suicide is a top ten cause in the eight regions with the most advanced health transition. Other causes that seem to be strongly related to the epidemiological and demographic transition include colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pancreas cancer, brain cancer, non‐Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney cancer, and prostate cancer.
- A robust analysis of the way HIV estimates are assessed. We need improved estimation of mortality from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other causes, including uncertainty. There are too many instances of estimates from large countries, such as Thailand and Nigeria, where the uncertainty intervals are implausibly narrow. By using the GBD approach of ensuring that all causes of death fit inside the envelope of the total number of deaths, we can progress toward better capturing both levels and trends in infectious diseases and their contribution to overall disease burden.
- Further inquiry into the pathogens that cause diarrhea and lower respiratory infections. Specific pathogens as causes of death were added to GBD 2010, which will provide important information for prioritization of existing treatments, such as rotavirus or pneumococcal vaccines, and for the development of future technologies. Studies such as the Global Enterics Multi‐Center Study (GEMS) will provide important additions to our understanding of the relative risks of diarrhea in the presence of different pathogens.
- Looking at the trends from 1990 to 2010 indicates that the MDG‐related YLLs are declining at 2% per year, whereas the non‐MDG‐related YLLs are increasing at 0.8% per year. Population aging, and the substantial if incomplete progress in reducing age‐specific death rates from the MDGrelated causes all suggest that these trends will continue. Indeed, if they do, then non‐MDGrelated causes are likely to account for over two‐thirds (67.6%) of YLLs by 2025. These findings highlight the importance of looking more critically and comprehensively at what are the leading causes of death and YLLs worldwide and how these are changing.
- Our analyses, for the first time, allow such comparative assessments and are important inputs into discussions about goals and targets for the post‐MDG era. The rapid and global rise in premature death from leading noncommunicable diseases argues strongly for inclusion of these conditions and their principle causes in this agenda, particularly given their close relationship to poverty reduction goals. It also stresses the need to understand the effective and affordable options for prevention of noncommunicable diseases and injuries and their treatment, including both medical and surgical interventions.
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