A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses, Volume 2: Pyridostigmine Bromide (Gulf War Illnesses Series)

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9780833026774: A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses, Volume 2: Pyridostigmine Bromide (Gulf War Illnesses Series)
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The United States and its allies in the Persian Gulf War (PGW) knew that Iraq had used nerve agents and chemical weapons in its previous conflicts and so took steps to protect their troops. Pyridostigmine Bromide was distributed as a pretreatment that would enhance the effectiveness of postexposure treatments in the event that the nerve agent soman was used. This report examines the role that PB played in the ongoing chronic health problems documented in PGW veterans. After careful examination of the known effects of PB on the central and peripheral nervous systems, the author finds the evidence consistent with a possible role for PB as a contributor to the health complaints of some PGW veterans and calls for immediate attention in the form of additional investigation to clarify the role of PB

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This literature review, one of eight commissioned by the Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf WarIllnesses, summarizes the existing scientific literature on the health effects of pyridostigmine bromide that may have affectedservice members who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The eight RAND reviews are intended tocomplement efforts by the Defense Department and other federal agencies as they attempt to understand the full range of healthimplications of service in that conflict. While many veterans have reported an array of physical and mental health complaints since the war, it is not yet clear the extentto which veterans are experiencing either higher-than-expected rates of identifiable illnesses with known etiologies or any otherillnesses from as yet unidentified origins.The other seven RAND literature reviews deal with chemical and biological warfare agents, depleted uranium, pesticides, oilwell fires, immunizations, infectious diseases, and stress. The topics of these reviews all represent plausible causes of some ofthe illnesses Gulf War veterans have reported. These reviews are intended principally to summarize the scientific literature on the known health effects of given exposures tothese risk factors. Where available evidence permits, the reviews also summarize what is known about the range of actualexposures in the Gulf and assess the plausibility of the risk factor at hand as a cause of illnesses. Statements related to the GulfWar experience should be regarded as suggestive rather than definitive, for much more research both on health effects andexposures remains to be completed before more definitive statements are made. Recommendations for additional researchwhere appropriate are also made. These reviews are limited to literature published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, books, governmentpublications, and conference proceedings. Unpublished information was occasionally used, but only to develop hypotheses.This work is sponsored by the Office of the Special Assistant and was carried out jointly by RAND Health's Center forMilitary Health Policy Research and the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the National Defense Research Institute. Thelatter is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the JointStaff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

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