Is Sarin the cause of Gulf War syndrome?

#2
As I recall (from dim dark days spent studying pharmacology and from fun times running an NBC cell) the action of NAPS is similar in some respects to that of sarin in targeting the nerve synapse processes, although designed to operate antagonistically to nerve agents.

It is unlikely that a sarin leak could cause illness in such large numbers of troops, some of whom reported symptoms without deploying. If the liquid vents, it is toxic but disperses. If it does not vent, then it sits there and does nothing. Common sense and the laws of physics make this an unlikely culprit although I would defer to the New Scientist fellows with lots of letters after their names!

I never have, and never will take a NAPS tablet - I don't trust them.
 
#3
If you read the report, they are saying low non-toxic levels of Sarin may lead to a cummulative effect on the nervous tissue. This has apparently been noted on test animals. Also stated was that some people may be more susceptible than others to these low doses, which may explain why not everybody who went to the Gulf suffers these symptoms.
 
#4
dui-lai said:
If you read the report, they are saying low non-toxic levels of Sarin may lead to a cummulative effect on the nervous tissue. This has apparently been noted on test animals. Also stated was that some people may be more susceptible than others to these low doses, which may explain why not everybody who went to the Gulf suffers these symptoms.
Watch this space.
Found It!

CutLunchCommando (in Pregnant Soldiers said:
Long Rod Penetrator said:
It will be interesting to see if any of the pregnant soldiers try to claim "Gulf War Syndrome" for their children in years to come.

Depending on the nature of the operational tour perhaps some form of pre-deployment screening ought to be put in place?
Thats an interesting thought. Though I think that if you make that case there is a case to be made to extend screening to more than pregnancy.

I read a while back in the New Scientist Magazine that a US Army SSGT had based his defence for a very serious Sex/Violence related crime on the fact that he was metabolically less resistant to the effects of Nerve Agents. Consequently he had suffered a personality change when he was exposed to nerve agent during GW1. There was enough science there for his lawyers to be using it as the central plank of his defence.

(I realise I'm veering off topic here but bear with me.)

If there are troops with this or similar vulnerabilities (and I'm lumping these in with pregnant females here) how much of a potential morale/legal exposure problem might this be? (Not just limiting this to UK Mil here, thinking of the context of the coalition of the willing AND this is obviously longer term). Genetic techniques continue to develop apace. Consider this scenario a soldier who knows she is pregnant is ordered to carry out a sniff test in some future conflict where chemical weapons are used or suspected to have been used. She refuses because she is protecting her unborn child. Another soldier of indeterminate gender (but deffo not pregnant) who knows from genetic screening for peacetime medical purposes that they are more vulnerable to long term damage is similarly ordered to carry out a sniff test. If they comply and are exposed has the Army really carried out its duty of care with respect to this soldier? Also will their morale and effectiveness be degraded by worrying about their exposure? The alternative is they dont comply on the grounds they are protecting themselves leading to a disciplne problem and an instant degradation of their and their units effectiveness.

Elsewhere on the site it has recently been noted that the army must reflect the society it is drawn from. If we are to remain effective then issues like this will ultimately need to be addressed. Pregnanacy is pretty straightforward and much more immediate problem in comparison to the issues I have raised here but they are all part of the same spectrum of things which lead to effeciveness of a force being degraded by the constraints placed by the standards and expectations the society from which it is drawn. For instance consider the issue of suicide and bullying (psychological territory rather than genetic but still an effectiveness issue).
We need to be able to recruit from and soldier for society in a way they find acceptable.

Back on the thread though pregnancy is a temporary condition so a pregnant soldier is not lost to the army unless the army chooses to dispense with them. I happen to be of the opinion that the possession of a womb (loaded or otherwise) is not mutually exclusive with the possession of a back bone. Ok its a total pain in the ARRSE if pregnancy interferes with ops but its only a gender related issue because only women have wombs. (Its the law that we are paid to defend. I'm comfortable with it.) Consider though, how many male soldiers would use that excuse if it was available to them?
This has been floating around in the background for quite some time. (apologies for the long post I couldnt link to the right place in the thread).
 
#5
I seem to remember that a number of years ago channel 4 dispatches did a program about Gulf War syndrome.

Two main points

*Nerve gas was detected in low levels outside Iraq, most likely due to bombed gas factories/storage.
*Possibility that Iraq launched a nerve gas attack, based on CIA documents and reports that nerve gas detectors had gone off. Suggestion that a small aircraft carried out the attack, this does seem unlikely.

If some troops were sensitive to nerve gas and low levels of nerve gas was present then this might account for Gulf War syndrome
or
It could be statistical noise.
 
#6
Most studies before this report did state that there was a statisitcal rise of these type of illnesses from within the cohort group who served in the gulf, to those who did not.

I am sure that with the release of this report, we may see more studies into low levels of sarin and its effect on nerve tissue.

Now is not the time to be a hamster or rat at Porton Down :twisted:
 
#7
I don't want to get too geeky but:

The issue revolves around the nerve-ending to muscle gaps, across which biochemical" transactions" take place.

Sarin is an anticholinesterase inhibitor, it binds antagonistically with this enzyme leading to an uncontrolled neurotransmitter (acetyl choline) buildup, meaning it should have a half-life before "normal service resumes." Therefore any effect should be time-limited.

NAPS works on a similar but different principle, and has a long-term effect on nerve endings to try and mitigate the effects of sarin. I can't quite see why sarin should have long-term effects.

Any of the medics have any inputs?
 
#8
MrPVRd said:
I don't want to get too geeky but:

The issue revolves around the nerve-ending to muscle gaps, across which biochemical" transactions" take place.

Sarin is an anticholinesterase inhibitor, it binds antagonistically with this enzyme leading to an uncontrolled neurotransmitter (acetyl choline) buildup, meaning it should have a half-life before "normal service resumes." Therefore any effect should be time-limited.

NAPS works on a similar but different principle, and has a long-term effect on nerve endings to try and mitigate the effects of sarin. I can't quite see why sarin should have long-term effects.

Any of the medics have any inputs?
Is the model really that simple? This is pretty fundamental biology (in then sense that it it impinges on most if not all of the functions of the body). "Junk" DNA was so called because the geneticists couldnt assign a funtion to it when they were using the model of the DNA strand as higly ordered and more or less static encyclopedia. Now they find its not the case and junk dna isnt junk any more.

Also brain sends message to muscle in limb, muscle in limb responds. Fair enough no log term effect. But neuron in brain reacts with another neuron and another and another all of which interact with others in a dynamic way. Ample opportunity surely for things to be knocked slightly awry?
 
#9
Sarin may affect the nerve transmissions but what about its toxicity on the nerve cells? There's very little on that as the most damage caused is by nerve impulse sessation.

Like most chemicals, everybody looks at the high dose effects or the minimum dose to cause an effect but not at the low level dose, where it is not considered to be toxic. It's effect may be like mercury whereby one dose does not effect you but as it accumulates and you are exposed to it for longer the damage builds.
 
#10
Where's Fuchs66 when you want an answer to a technical NBC type question? :wink:
 

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