It is sobering to view the map produced depicting the results of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's survey on disease burden.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in Seattle, carried out a survey of the world’s disease burden. The latest results of this study, focusing on disability, have just been published in the Lancet. The burden of disability imposed each year by a particular condition on a country is measured by counting the number of its inhabitants who suffer from that condition, and multiplying the total by the condition’s severity, assessed on a scale running from zero (meaning no effect) to one (meaning lethal). As the map shows, back pain causes the greatest burden in rich countries with ageing populations. Depression often tops the list in poorer, younger ones. Anaemia heads it in some destitute or war-torn states, where food shortages are common. Conversely, in some sedentary and prosperous parts of the Middle East diabetes is of most concern.