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Association found between anthrax vaccination, medication and health problems of Gulf War veterans

MANHATTAN Take pyridostigmine bromide pills, mix with several vaccinations received at the same time including anthrax many of which contained mercury as a preservative, blend with inaccurate shot records, add a lack of rest, sprinkled with a dash of stressful conditions and you have the recipe for a "significant association" between subsequent declines in subjective health experiences and Gulf War veterans. That's the conclusion in a report released by researchers at Kansas State University.

The research team, led by Walter Schumm, a K-State professor of family studies and human services, studied a random selection of nearly 1,000 reserve component veterans from all branches of the military, who had either been living in Ohio in March 1996 or who had been in Ohio as of August 1990. State officials were concerned over numerous reports of veterans in Ohio being ill with various problems and hired the team of researchers to take an independent look at the problem. In addition to Schumm, the principal investigator, researchers included Earl J. Reppert, M.D., medical director, Lafene Student Health Center; Anthony P. Jurich, Stephan R. Bollman, Farrell J. Webb, and Carlos S. Castelo, all from the department of family studies and human services.

Schumm said veterans were asked about changes in their health from before, during and after the war, as well as at the current time. Among those veterans who reported excellent health before the war, 36 percent who said they received an anthrax vaccination reported poor to fair health in 1996 compared to 18 percent of those who did not report receiving the anthrax vaccination. In contrast, those who were not mobilized and did not receive an anthrax vaccination or pyridostigmine bromide pills reported much lower levels of poor to fair health in 1996 less than 5 percent.

"What we basically found was that subjective health deteriorated somewhat over time," Schumm said. "As people got older their health de
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Contact: Walter R. Schumm
wrschumm@k-state.edu
785-532-1494
Kansas State University
3-May-2002


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