According to a study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Gulf War veterans exposed to the Khamisiyah plume were found to have significant brain changes.
The study was initiated to further add to previous findings researching hippocampal changes after exposure to the toxic plume.
With a total of 113 participants, who’ve all served in the Gulf War, had regions of their brain analyzed using Tesla magnetic resonance imaging. All participants had predicted exposure as per the Department of Defense exposure models, except for 62 veterans, which were non-exposed.
The findings suggest that those with predicted exposure had reduced total hippocampal and CA3/dentate gyrus volumes when compared to their counterpart. Researchers also accounted for any potential genetic variables.
One of the most significant changes for the affected participants was memory deficits.
“Among veterans with predicted exposure, memory performance was positively correlated with hippocampal volume and negatively correlated with estimated exposure levels and self-reported memory difficulties.”
The results of the study — according to researchers — adds more weight to their previous findings on low-level exposure to chemical nerve agents from the Khamisiyah pit demolition and brain structure.
“Since memory problems and smaller hippocampal volumes have both been linked to the risk of late-life dementia, Dr. Chao and colleagues believe that exposed veterans should receive regular follow-up, especially as they approach old age,” Science Daily reported.