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Persian Gulf Syndrome Suspect

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The Surgical Pathology and Cytopathology of US Persian Gulf War Military Veterans:

Identification of Diseases Endemic to the Theater of Operations

Background:                 Tens of thousands of Persian Gulf War veterans (GWVs) have presented with medical symptoms since Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The Kuwait Registry at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology was established to act as a repository for surgical pathology, cytopathology, and autopsy material from GWV s.

Objective:              To identify conditions known to he endemic to the the­ater of operations in our cohort of GVVs.

Methods:              The Kuwait Registry database was searched by computer for listed conditions endemic to the Persian Gulf region included in the registry through December 31, 1997.

Results:            Of the 2582 patients in this cohort, 1 patient with hepatitis B and 15 patients with hepatitis C were identified. Other known endemic conditions of the Persian Gulf region were not found.

Conclusions:  Viral hepatitis (B and C), which is prevalent in the US population, was the only listed endemic condition identified in surgical pathology or cytopathology specimens in our cohort of GWVs.

(2000;124:1299-1301) Charles S. Specht et al. Reprints: Charles S. Specht, Department of Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 14th Street and Alaska Ave NW, Washington, DC 20306.


As I have repeated commented, about 50 percent of the people are to imaginary conditions, and thus for any sufficiently supportive set of circumstances about two-thirds of them will experience what has been suggested.  Thus there is the placebo effect, which works for 30% of the people.  For others conditions less supported by positive reinforcement, there is a lower per percentage.  I have about 8 years read a Scientific American article going over the history of imaginary problems by those who were in a battle zone.  I read an article in Science News which pointed out the reasons why there wasn’t a problem with Agent Orange the herbicide of which thousands of tons were used.  Among the reasons was those who were most exposed, those who loaded the planes and helicopters were not among those with the highest rate of the putative syndrome.   Other reasons would be that Dixon is less harmful in man than in rodents, and that it doesn’t cause in rodents the kinds of symptoms those who claimed to have been effected by Agent Organ exhibited.  Moreover the inordinate variation in symptoms supported the imaginary explanation.  In that tradition and for the same reasons we have the Persian Gulf Syndrome.--jk