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International study confirms doubling of childhood leukemia rates in southern Iraq
Date:2/18/2010

s." He said census data were not collected after the U.S. invasion of Iraq and population patterns were thought to be disrupted by migration patterns, as well. Study authors say they used the most conservative assumptions available, so as not to overstate their findings.

The study was conceived by faculty at University of Washington and two Iraqi universities -- Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and Basrah Universityand the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The authors formed an ongoing partnership to support public health in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion.

During the period studied, Basrah and its highly populated surrounding area, which includes farmland and oil fields, became a modern battlefield, pummeled by three consecutive wars, including the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the first U.S. invasion in 1991and the second U.S. invasion in 2003.

The researchers now seek to understand the cause of Iraq's increased rate of child leukemia by conducting a case-control study to compare children who got leukemia with those who did not. That sort of study allows researchers to see if there were differences in exposures between the cases and the controls. Some increased exposures related to child leukemia could include the byproducts of regional petroleum fires and benzene, which comes from gasoline sold by children at the side of the road as a result of disrupted fuel supplies, war-related nerve agents and pesticides, and the widespread use of depleted uranium munitions.


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Contact: Bobbi Nodell
bnodell@u.washington.edu
206-271-1429
University of Washington - Health Sciences/UW News, Community Relations & Marketing
Source:Eurekalert

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