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Global Relevance of Literature on Trauma

Abstract

The trauma pandemic disproportionately kills and maims citizens of low-income countries although the immediate cause of the trauma is often an industrial export of a high-income country, such as a motor vehicle. Addressing the trauma pandemic in low-income countries requires access to relevant research information regarding prevention and treatment of injuries. Such information is also generally produced in high-income countries. We reviewed two years’ worth of articles from leading orthopaedic and general medical journals to determine whether the scientific literature appropriately reflects the global burden of musculoskeletal disease, particularly that due to trauma. General medical journals underrepresented musculoskeletal disease, but within musculoskeletal disease an appropriate majority of papers were regarding trauma, in particular the epidemiology and prevention of injury. Orthopaedic journals, while focusing on musculoskeletal conditions, substantially underrepresented the global burden of disease due to trauma and hardly consider injury epidemiology and prevention. If orthopaedic surgeons want to maximize their global impact, they should focus on writing about trauma questions relevant to their colleagues in low-income countries and ensuring these same colleagues have access to the literature.

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