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Researchers probe geographical ties to ALS cases among 1991 Gulf War veterans
Date:7/21/2008

posed to emissions from a munitions storage area at Khamisayah, Iraq. Those munitions were destroyed by U.S. forces in March 1991, and a United Nations commission later found many rockets there had been loaded for chemical warfare.

A previous Defense Department modeling study deduced that "some 90,000 veterans may have been exposed to low levels of nerve agent" at Khamisayah, the new report said.

The GIS mapping revealed that "there were some areas where there appeared to be an elevated risk," Miranda said. To narrow down the possibilities, she and co-investigators then used statistical methods that assess the "best guess about the likelihood that space matters" for each grid of Gulf territory, she added.

Applying those statistics, the likelihood of a spatial connection with ALS development "climbed as high as 91 percent" in some grid cells, she said, most notably in a region southeast of Khamisayah. But Miranda cautioned that she will need to do additional analyses that add "time" to "place" before she can be more specific.

For instance, the researchers will want to know whether the ALS victim's units were in the path of emissions from Khamisayah on a specific day. Miranda and her colleagues are also interested in examining environmental exposures that may be associated with smoke plumes from oil well fires.


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Contact: Monte Basgall
monte.basgall@duke.edu
919-681-8057
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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