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Nerve gas, insecticide exposure possible cause of Gulf War illness, say GHSU researchers

Monday, March 19, 2012 4:50 PM
Last updated Tuesday, March 20, 2012 6:52 AM
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The memory and attention problems plaguing thousands of veterans from the first Gulf War might be caused by low-level exposure to insecticides and nerve gas, said researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University.

Dr. Alvin Terry, a professor at GHSU, and his colleague, Dr. Nathan Yanasak, are conducting a three-year study on the neurological symptoms of Gulf War illness.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
Dr. Alvin Terry, a professor at GHSU, and his colleague, Dr. Nathan Yanasak, are conducting a three-year study on the neurological symptoms of Gulf War illness.

Gulf War illness could be caused by a class of chemicals known as organophosphates, which can include popular pesticides and insecticides but also the nerve gases sarin and cyclosarin.

The Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency estimate 100,000 people might have been exposed to low levels of those nerve gases when troops blew up a weapons depot in Khamisiyah, Iraq, on March 10, 1991. Troops were also routinely exposed to the chemical in insecticides, said Dr. Alvin Terry, the director of the Animal Behavior Center at GHSU and professor of pharmacology and toxicology.

Terry and a colleague, Dr. Nathan Yanasak, have an $860,000, three-year grant from the DOD to study whether the chemicals can cause nerve damage in the brains of animals – in this case, mice – that could lead to memory and attention problems. They will look to see whether the insecticide chlorpyrifos, which is commonly used on crops in the U.S. and around the world – when given in low doses – might hamper the ability of the nerve cells to transport food and waste up and down the nerve.

“For it to maintain its health, it has to be able to transport things” along the axon of the nerve, Terry said. The researchers are using newer technology, such as manganese-enhanced MRI, to study that because manganese is known to be taken up and transported by nerves in the brain, he said. Researchers will also check whether the protective sheath of the nerve cells, known as myelin, is depleted by the low-level exposure, which can affect nerve firing.

“It’s probably subtle if it is there,” Terry said.

In previous work, including a study published this year, Terry and colleagues showed that “subthreshold” doses of the chemical caused memory and attention problems in rats even months later.

“Long after they have been exposed, you can still pick up on these memory deficits,” he said.

What makes that intriguing is that it is similar to problems that plague veterans with Gulf War illness, Terry said. The study in animals is is being done to find out whether that is the cause of the symptoms, which could stem from a number of other causes, such as the oil well fires that raged during the conflict and had wide exposure, Terry said.

“There’s a whole multitude of things that you could say might be a possibility,” he said. The DOD has funded research over the years into what might cause Gulf War illness, “but no one has really solved it. There have been a lot of controversies.”

His work has drawn some fire from chemical companies, but Terry said he strives for balance in his view of the chemicals.

“They have without a doubt dramatically improved farming productivity, and they have helped to get rid of vector-bone illnesses,” he said. “It’s just knowing the long-term effects; we need to be more educated on that and try to be balanced.”

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AutumnLeaves
10255
Points
AutumnLeaves 03/19/12 - 05:29 pm
5
0
The affects of pesticide

The affects of pesticide exposure on humans should be studied closer in relation to residential use of pesticides, too, the types applied by homeowners and/or professionals. Wouldn't it be strange if this was the common denominator for most Alzheimer's, and/or memory loss, and/or dementia sufferers?

RoadkiII
6807
Points
RoadkiII 03/19/12 - 06:55 pm
0
5
But he (Hussein) didn't have

But he (Hussein) didn't have anything like that. That's what the liberals are saying anyway.

hockeymann
226
Points
hockeymann 03/19/12 - 08:59 pm
2
1
When is the Veterans

When is the Veterans Administration going to pay some of the many claims they have been hiding from for so many years now??? Where's Obama on
this, as he hasn't done anything on this???

burninater
9932
Points
burninater 03/20/12 - 12:20 am
4
1
Roadkill, you do know that

Roadkill, you do know that 1991, when this depot was destroyed, is a different year than 2003, when we reinvaded Iraq and found no WMD, right?

Please tell me that it's not just liberals that can differentiate between two different decades.

KSL
143815
Points
KSL 03/20/12 - 05:51 am
1
3
Saddam defied the UN. He

Saddam defied the UN. He could have simply let inspectors see all. He chose not to.

zsaxt642
14
Points
zsaxt642 03/20/12 - 02:45 pm
0
0
this has been going on prior

this has been going on prior to Gulf War. Nerve agents. I agree with AutumnLeaves: Wouldn't it be strange if this was the common denominator for most Alzheimer's, and/or memory loss, and/or dementia sufferers?
Since the vast majority of vets with these disabilities also served in or around the same chemical agents since WWII forward

sleeper692
0
Points
sleeper692 03/20/12 - 04:26 pm
0
0
"His work has drawn some fire

"His work has drawn some fire from chemical companies,...."

Now there is a real smoking gun! In all the research articles I've ever read concerning Gulf War Illness (yes, I'm an ill Gulf War veteran), not once has anyone every mentioned the researchers getting heat from the chemical companies.

This makes me wonder if other researchers aren't receiving the same kind of pressure. How much lobbying money are these companies throwing at congress to keep medical research funding at a minimum? What goes on behind closed doors when the chemical companies bring the hammer down on a researcher? Could these companies be buying off the researchers? I doubt the research community has such low morals but it could happen.

I've heard a lot of talk that its the VA that doesn't want a definitive cause found since that would mean they would have to start paying all the sick Gulf War veterans. Well, the VA is already paying a substantial amount for "chronic, multi-symptom illnesses" to veteran's of the Gulf War. If a definitive cause, along with viable treatment or even the ever elusive "cure" could be found. The VA wouldn't have to pay veteran's once they are cured and given their life back. Not that such a thing is in the foreseeable future but my point is that I don't think the VA has any hand in trying to stifle research efforts. But the chemical companies could very well be trying to sweep all this under the rug.

So what happens if they find a definitive cause and it turns out it was due to the chemicals that these different companies developed for use by the military? All the way from pyridostigmine bromide and vaccine adjuvants to the pesticides we were given and the exposures to sarin and cyclosarin nerve agents (which this country sold to Iraq) there could be any number of class action suits by the surviving gulf war vets.

This toxic exposure leaves deployed Gulf War Veteran's with an marked increase for coming down with ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease), Parkinson's syndrom and MS. ALS, I might add, is usually fatal within 3 to 5 years of diagnosis. It is a long, slow, tortuous way to die.

Gulf War Illness closely mirrors Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, another illness which is not clearly understood by the medical community.

I bet if the people who ran these chemical companies were faced with the daily rigors that an ill Gulf War Veteran goes through, not to mention the gloomy outlook that we could be struck with ALS, etc, they wouldn't be so quick to bring heat on the researchers.

sleeper692
0
Points
sleeper692 03/20/12 - 04:28 pm
0
0
"His work has drawn some fire

"His work has drawn some fire from chemical companies,...."

Now there is a real smoking gun! In all the research articles I've ever read concerning Gulf War Illness (yes, I'm an ill Gulf War veteran), not once has anyone every mentioned the researchers getting heat from the chemical companies.

This makes me wonder if other researchers aren't receiving the same kind of pressure. How much lobbying money are these companies throwing at congress to keep medical research funding at a minimum? What goes on behind closed doors when the chemical companies bring the hammer down on a researcher? Could these companies be buying off the researchers? I doubt the research community has such low morals but it could happen.

I've heard a lot of talk that its the VA that doesn't want a definitive cause found since that would mean they would have to start paying all the sick Gulf War veterans. Well, the VA is already paying a substantial amount for "chronic, multi-symptom illnesses" to veteran's of the Gulf War. If a definitive cause, along with viable treatment or even the ever elusive "cure" could be found. The VA wouldn't have to pay veteran's once they are cured and given their life back. Not that such a thing is in the foreseeable future but my point is that I don't think the VA has any hand in trying to stifle research efforts. But the chemical companies could very well be trying to sweep all this under the rug.

So what happens if they find a definitive cause and it turns out it was due to the chemicals that these different companies developed for use by the military? All the way from pyridostigmine bromide and vaccine adjuvants to the pesticides we were given and the exposures to sarin and cyclosarin nerve agents (which this country sold to Iraq) there could be any number of class action suits by the surviving gulf war vets.

This toxic exposure leaves deployed Gulf War Veteran's with an marked increase for coming down with ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease), Parkinson's syndrom and MS. ALS, I might add, is usually fatal within 3 to 5 years of diagnosis. It is a long, slow, tortuous way to die.

Gulf War Illness closely mirrors Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, another illness which is not clearly understood by the medical community.

I bet if the people who ran these chemical companies were faced with the daily rigors that an ill Gulf War Veteran goes through, not to mention the gloomy outlook that we could be struck with ALS, etc, they wouldn't be so quick to bring heat on the researchers.

cfs boston
0
Points
cfs boston 03/22/12 - 12:49 pm
0
0
CFSgate = AIDSgate = GWSgate

CFSgate = AIDSgate = GWSgate

I have Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFS/CFIDS/ME) and NON-HIV AIDS, idiopathic CD lymphocytopenia. With these two clinical diagnoses, I believe that makes me living proof that the AIDS-like CFIDS/ME is transmissible, something that the medical establishment seems unable to admit or to acknowledge. I also believe it makes me living proof that CFIDS and NON-HIV AIDS are basically the same mysterious immune disorder.

Whatever I am currently dealing with, it strongly resembles classic textbook HIV/AIDS. But, to add to my inquiry, I also clinically satisfy the CDC's criteria for the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Increasingly, I have become concerned that my systemic diagnosis is caught up in the treacherous politics of CFIDS/ME and AIDS. Most people with CFIDS/ME do not like to talk about the many symptoms and immune abnormalities that they share with AIDS patients. I also suspect that most ailing patients would rather be told that they have the very mysterious CFS than to be told that they have AIDS.

Anyone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, who does not consider the possibility that CFIDS/ME will eventually progress to a NON-HIV AIDS diagnosis, is very well trumping their own ability to diagnosis the root cause of their illness.

Why isn't CFIDS/ME a reportable disease overseen by our public health department? Why are ME and CFS (i.e., the same exact disorder) suspiciously categorized as two separate illnesses on a worldwide level (i.e., by ICD codes)? Doesn't anyone else but me, very clearly see, the catastrophic cover-up going on here?

....
{more}
cfsstraighttalk dot blogspot dot com

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