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Millions of dollars were authorized to fund a series of epidemiological studies to see whether Gulf War servicemen were being hospitalized at a higher rate than normal...to find out if they were dying at a higher rate than expected....and to examine whether their children were having an increased rate of birth defects.

The first thorough epidemiological studies began to appear in the medical journals. They were studies comparing troops who served in the Gulf with troops who didn't. The results of the studies were:

* Gulf War vets were not dying from disease at a higher rate than expected, although more had died in car accidents - something that has been found after other wars.

* Gulf War vets weren't being hospitalized at a higher rate than military servicemen who didn't go to the Gulf

* A large study showed that babies being born to Gulf War vets had no higher rate of birth defects.

For details, link below to the abstracts of these studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

BIRTH DEFECTS:

Did service in the Gulf War cause an increased rate of birthdefects among the children of those veterans? Claims have been made that it did and media accounts - such as the cover story in Life Magazine on the Hanson family- fostered such a belief.

Here is the summary of a major study on the risk of birth defects among veterans' children which found no evidence of an increase.

MORTALITY:

Have Gulf War veterans been dying in higher than normal numbers from disease compared to those who didn't serve in the war? "Mortality among U.S. Veterans of the Persian Gulf War" is a study which concludes that they aren't. There was a significantly higher motality rate, but most of the increase was due to accidents, not disease.

HOSPITALIZATION:

"The Postwar Hospitalization Experience of U.S. Veterans of the Persian Gulf War" is a study which showed the ratio for Gulf veterans' hospitalization was not higher than that of other veterans.

 

 
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