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Gulf War Illness-relatred Medical Research & Publications:
Exposure & Exposure/Response Relationships

The Impact of Infectious Diseases on the Health of U.S. Troops Deployed to the Persian Gulf During Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm

Landrigan, P.J. Illness in Gulf War Veterans. Causes and Consequences. (editorial) JAMA 1997; 277: 259-260. The author summarizes the main findings of the articles on Iowa veterans and the RNMCB-24 (Haley et al.) which appeared in the same issue. He also summarizes some of the other recently published studies related to mortality, hospitalization, and the frequency of symptoms among GW veterans. The author mentions the late-breaking announcement by the government of sarin release during destruction of Iraqi bunkers, and the controversy over the possibility of chronic effects of low dose exposures to nerve agents. He emphasizes the need for physicians to provide counseling, support, and symptomatic treatment for GW veterans.

Etzel, R. A. and Ashley, D.L. Volatile Organic Compounds in the Blood of Persons in Kuwait During the Oil Fires. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 1994; 66: 125-129. This study analyzed blood samples collected in 1991 from Americans working in Kuwait City (20 km from burning oil wells) (Group I), personnel working at the burning wells (Group II), and participants in a U.S. health survey (US Group). Compared to the US Group, median volatile organic compound concentrations were higher in Group II and lower in Group I. Concentrations of benzene and toluene were significantly higher among smokers.

Poirier, M.C. et al. Biomonitoring of United States Army Soldiers Serving in Kuwait in 1991. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention 1998; 7: 545-551. Blood and urine samples were collected from soldiers before, during, and after their deployment from Germany to Kuwait from June 1991 to September 1991. Blood and urine concentrations of biomarkers for exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were significantly lower for the period of the deployment in Kuwait than for the periods in Germany. Similarly, levels of PAHs in ambient air samples in Kuwait were also lower than expectations.

McDiarmid, M.A. et al. Increased Frequencies of Sister Chromatid Exchange in Soldiers Deployed to Kuwait. Mutagenesis 1995; 10(3): 263-265. Among a sample of soldiers from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, spontaneous sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) in blood lymphocytes were found to have increased during and after deployment to Kuwait in 1991. SCE has been employed in the past as an indicator of genotoxic exposure to environmental agents. Because there are many possible causes for increases in SCE and the long term health implications of SCE frequencies have not been established, the meaning and importance of the results are unknown.

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