Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: The spectacular revelations
of the human genome project promise precise "magic bullets" to cure a range
of human diseases. Many of these opportunities are described in the these
issue of JAMA devoted to opportunities for medical research in the 21st
century (February 7, 2001). The brilliance of the prospects, however, may
eclipse many more pragmatic but nonetheless important considerations.
For instance, in their article on burden of disease, Dr Michaud and
colleagues1 list automobile crashes as the
ninth leading cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 1990 and
project that this will be the third leading cause by the year 2020. The projections
may underestimate the relative importance of trauma as a cause of DALYs if
some of the sophisticated research pays off with real cures for heart disease,
cerebrovascular accidents, and cancer.
Giesecke AH. Medical Research in the 21st Century. JAMA. 2001;286(15):1833-1835. doi:10.1001/jama.286.15.1833