An Introduction to Epidemiology by Michael Alderson (auth.)

By Michael Alderson (auth.)

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Is that medical knowledge may advance fairly rapidly for certain conditions; together with changes in medical terminology, this can pose problems for coding with a relatively inflexible international classification. D . at periodic revisions; this may then lead to alteration in structure of sections of the classification or changes in the rules of selection of underlying cause that create discontinuity in the THE USE OF MORTALITY STATISTICS 23 long-term trends in certain statistics. ; the classification is meant to be suitable for coding mortality statistics for any country in the world (including those where a majority of deaths are not medically certified).

Inman and Adelstein 18 AN INTRODUCfION TO EPIDEMIOLOGY (1969) examined the trends in asthma mortality for an eleven-year period (1958-68) in relation to the use of pressurised aerosols containing bronchodilators. In the period 1961-6 they noted a rapid growth in the sales of pressurised aerosols and a considerable increase in asthma mortality. The latter was particularly apparent in children aged ten to fourteen, among whom there was a sevenfold increase in asthma mortality. D. issued a warning to all doctors in the United Kingdom about the possible hazards of pressurised aerosols if used excessively in the treatment of asthma.

Since the material has to be collected for other legal and demographic purposes, the actual cost of obtaining mortality data is relatively low, compared with some routine data that will be discussed in the following chapter. O. has been responsible for sponsoring and encouraging the collection of accurate mortality statistics throughout the world, and the majority of developing countries now have some system for the recording, collection, processing and production of mortality data. The developed countries produce annual publications covering various aspects of the material, and the data are usually presented in such a way that comparisons can fairly readily be made between countries.

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