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Exposure to military trauma related to post-war disease and death in Civil War veterans

s of Civil War data shows that there may be fewer differences than previously thought between the Vietnam War and other conflicts, writes Roger K. Pitman, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Mass., in an accompanying editorial.

"Their central findings strikingly echo the results of research into the mental health status of Vietnam veterans, including posttraumatic stress disorder," Dr. Pitman writes.

The finding that the youngest veterans sustained the greatest damage also corroborates research from other wars. This may have neurobiological as well as psychological and social explanations, Dr. Pitman writes. "Their immature nervous systems and diminished capacity to regulate emotion give even greater reason to shudder at the thought of children and adolescents serving in combat, which apparently was common in the U.S. Civil War and still occurs in some countries today," he concludes.


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Contact: Christine Byrd
949-824-9055
JAMA and Archives Journals
6-Feb-2006


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