Trends in injury-related deaths before and after dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
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The relationship of death rates due to injury with the dissolution of the Soviet empire deserves special focus because of the impact of injury deaths on the productive working population between the ages of 15 and 65 years. A retrospective review was performed of annual mortality rates due to intentional and unintentional injuries, using WHO data from 1980 to 2003. Using data from a comparison group in Western Europe, the nations of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were studied. Annual death rates were examined using polynomial regression after 3-year moving averages smoothed the plots. The majority of trends in injury-related death noted in the comparison group decreased constantly over time. In contrast, many nations of the former USSR experienced an initial decrease, reaching a nadir in 1985 - 1987, followed by an increase in injury-related deaths. Moreover, many of these nations experienced a subsequent decrease following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The monitoring of trends in injury mortality in countries experiencing social and political upheavals is warranted.
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