AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018

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'Khamisiyah Plume' Linked to Brain and Memory Effects in Gulf War Vets

In previous research, Linda Chao, PhD, and colleagues of San Francisco VA Medical Center reported decreased volume of the hippocampus—a brain area involved in memory processing—in Gulf War veterans exposed to the Khamisiyah plume. In that 1991 event, demolition of an Iraqi munitions depot caused US soldiers to be exposed to low levels of nerve agents, carried downwind in a smoke plume.

The previous studies had some key limitations, including a lack of data on other risk factors. The new study compared an independent group of 113 veterans with predicted exposure to the Khamisiyah plume, based on Department of Defense models, and 62 nonexposed veterans.

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