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Helping the helpers
  1. B Pless, Editor

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    In previous editorials I have written about risk factors for injuries that seem “ubiquitous”. By this I mean that they are found in most countries and affect most, if not all, types of injury. A good example is alcohol. In this column I comment on a related phenomenon, not as a risk for injury but as a risk for failing to implement preventive measures adequately.

    It has been repeatedly stated that the quintessential problem in injury prevention is that so much of what we know to be effective is not applied, or not applied fully. Rivara and others have estimated that if we were able to fully implement all we know, there would be about 30% fewer injury deaths among children. I have no doubt the figure for adults would be the same, and possibly even higher, and there is no reason to think that the same shortfall is not seen with respect to non-fatal injuries.

    Thus, injury prevention presents a sharp contrast to other health problems. Although in all instances investigators seek to find causes or remedies, in the case of “ordinary diseases” once either of these meets with success, it is rarely a problem to take the next steps to fully harvest the fruits of the research. For example, it is difficult to …

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