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Greater availability of neurosurgeons could reduce risk of death from motor vehicle accidents
Date:7/24/2012

Charlottesville, VA (July 24, 2012). Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire have found an association between increasing the distribution of neurosurgeons throughout the United States and decreasing the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). The findings of their study are described in the article "Increased population density of neurosurgeons associated with decreased risk of death from MVAs in the United States. Clinical article," by Atman Desai, M.D., and colleagues, published today online, ahead of print, in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

The researchers reviewed some basics about MVAs, the leading cause of death in the United States among young persons (1 to 34 years of age). The primary cause of death arising from MVAs is traumatic brain injury, whose treatment is generally handled by neurosurgeons. Motor vehicle accidents are more likely to result in fatalities in rural settings, which some attribute to a slow medical response time and reduced access to trauma resources. For the most part, neurosurgeons are clustered in and around cities that house tertiary care hospitals, and thus there is an uneven distribution of this specialty throughout the US. Bearing these facts in mind, the authors hypothesized that an increased population density of neurosurgeons would decrease the risk of death from an MVA.

Desai and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of data from the Area Resource File (2009�), a database containing county-level information on health care facilities and their utilization and expenditures; health care professionals and their training; and socioeconomic and environmental characteristics. Data from 3141 US counties were analyzed; 2051 of these counties were classified as rural. The primary outcome variable was the average number of deaths due to MVAs per million population for each county during the 3-year period 2004 through 2006.The primary independent va
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Contact: Gillian Shasby
gshasby@thejns.org
434-924-5555
Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group
Source:Eurekalert

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