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Acute Computer-Related Injuries on the Rise

Nearly 79,000 needed emergency medical care for computer mishaps during study period

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of individuals suffering from acute computer-related injuries has risen steeply since the mid-1990s, according to research published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Angela Y. Douglas, of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database on acute computer-related injuries treated in emergency departments from 1994 through 2006.

The researchers found that, during this time, nearly 79,000 individuals were treated for such injuries. Children under 5 years of age had the highest overall injury rates. Lacerations, most often on the extremities and head, were the most common diagnosis in all age groups, often occurring in children under 9 years. The most common cause of injury was hitting or getting caught on the computer, followed by equipment falling on the patient; and in many cases the monitor was involved in the injury. The authors further note that the injuries often occurred while moving the computer.

"This study is the first to examine acute computer-related injuries on a national level. The number of injury cases increased by 732 percent during the study period, with injury rates increasing significantly for all age groups. The persistent increase in computer ownership is likely the main driving force of the dramatic increase in computer-related injuries. Household computer ownership increased 309 percent from 1993 to 2003, from 22,605,000 households to 69,912,000 households," Douglas and colleagues conclude.

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