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Wayne State SOM study examines first Gulf War environmental exposures, pregnancy outcomes

April 18, 2013

Data collected and analyzed at the Wayne State University School of Medicine has produced what could be the first published work to examine the relationship between wartime environmental exposures and birth outcomes for children of men and women living in Iraq before and after the 1991 Gulf War. "The key finding is that exposures to that war seem to be associated with an increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes," said reproductive health expert Robert Sokol, M.D., the WSU distinguished professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the John M. Malone Jr., M.D., Endowed chair and director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development in Detroit. Using data from interviews with 307 Iraqi families who immigrated to the United States, the team compared mothers giving birth in Iraq before and after being exposed to the Gulf War to those giving birth in the U.S. before or after the first Gulf War. "There is generally a lack of good studies of the reproductive hazards of war in which there are both data on exposures as well as outcomes," said Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D., WSU professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences and the study's principal investigator.