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BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 17 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:118

More than 150  000 Iraqis died during the first three years of war

An estimated 151 000 Iraqi adults and children have died in the violence that began with the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003, say researchers. Their household survey shows that during the three years up to 2006, violence was one of the most common causes of death for Iraqi adults and the leading cause of death for young and middle aged men. Nearly two thirds of reported deaths in men aged 15-59 were caused by injury between 2003 and 2006.

The researchers interviewed members of more than 9000 households across Iraq to try and get an accurate picture of who has died and how they died since the invasion. The data were limited by population instability, systematic under-reporting, and personal risk—one of the researchers was shot and killed on his way to work last year. But these figures could be a better reflection of the true death toll than previous best guesses based on media reports or smaller surveys, says a linked comment (p 445). The final estimate includes deaths in combatants and civilians. Overall, the rate of violent deaths in Iraq increased from 0.1 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.32) per 1000 person years before the invasion to 1.09 (0.81 to 1.5) afterwards. All cause deaths almost doubled (3.17 (2.7 to 3.75) to 6.01 (5.49 to 6.60) per 1000 person years).

ECG abnormalities signal cardiomyopathy for some elite athletes

All Italian athletes are screened for cardiovascular disease before being allowed to compete in national teams, and the resulting database is a useful source of information about what happens to athletes with asymptomatic abnormalities on their electrocardiogram (ECG). In one study, researchers tracked 81 athletes with repolarisation abnormalities (deeply inverted T waves) for up to 27 (mean 9) years. The athletes had no other evidence of heart disease at the time, and most of them competed for …

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