Is Sarin the cause of Gulf War syndrome?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by dui-lai, Nov 3, 2004.

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Watch this space.
    Found It!

    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).
  4. 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
    It could be statistical noise.
  5. 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:
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. Where's Fuchs66 when you want an answer to a technical NBC type question? :wink:
  10. Probably doing something dirty with his respirator on :twisted: