The effect of economic sanctions on the mortality of Iraqi children prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the effect of sanctions on mortality among Iraqi children. METHODS: The effects of economic sanctions on health are not well known. Past studies on the effect of economic sanctions on mortality have suffered from unreliable data sources and the collinearity of sanctions with other negative economic events. We overcame these weaknesses by using individual child records from a retrospective survey of mothers conducted after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to examine the effect of sanctions on mortality among Iraqi children. Multivariate proportional hazards analysis was used to assess the effect of economic sanctions prior to war (from August through December 1990). RESULTS: We found that after controlling for child and maternal characteristics, when economic sanctions were entered into the proportional hazards equation, the risk of dying increased dramatically. This increase was highly significant statistically. CONCLUSIONS: Innovative application of robust epidemiologic research tools can contribute to assessments of health and well-being even under the methodological and practical constraints of comprehensive economic sanctions, but more research is needed. (+info)
Demographic, physical, and mental health factors associated with deployment of U.S. Army soldiers to the Persian Gulf.
A total of 675,626 active duty Army soldiers who were known to be at risk for deployment to the Persian Gulf were followed from 1980 through the Persian Gulf War. Hospitalization histories for the entire cohort and Health Risk Appraisal surveys for a subset of 374 soldiers were used to evaluate prewar distress, health, and behaviors. Deployers were less likely to have had any prewar hospitalizations or hospitalization for a condition commonly reported among Gulf War veterans or to report experiences of depression/suicidal ideation. Deployers reported greater satisfaction with life and relationships but displayed greater tendencies toward risk-taking, such as drunk driving, speeding, and failure to wear safety belts. Deployed veterans were more likely to receive hazardous duty pay and to be hospitalized for an injury than nondeployed Gulf War-era veterans. If distress is a predictor of postwar morbidity, it is likely attributable to experiences occurring during or after the war and not related to prewar exposures or health status. Postwar excess injury risk may be explained in part by a propensity for greater risk-taking, which was evident before and persisted throughout the war. (+info)
Proposed explanations for excess injury among veterans of the Persian Gulf War and a call for greater attention from policymakers and researchers.
INTRODUCTION: Death rates among US veterans of the Persian Gulf War were lower than rates among non-deployed veterans and the US population at large, with the exception of injury deaths; returning veterans were at significantly greater risk of injury mortality. Similar patterns of excess injury mortality were documented among US and Australian veterans returning from Vietnam. In spite of these consistent findings little has been done to explain these associations and in particular to determine whether or not, and how, war related exposures influence injury risk among veterans returning home after deployments. HYPOTHESIZED PATHWAYS: Several potential pathways are proposed through which injury might be related to deployment. First, increases in injury mortality may be a consequence of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and symptoms of other psychiatric conditions developed after the war. Second, physical and psychological traumas experienced during the war may result in the postwar adoption of "coping" behaviors that also increase injury risk (for example, heavy drinking). Third, greater injury risk may be the indirect consequence of increased experiences of ill defined diseases and symptoms reported by many returning veterans. Fourth, veterans may experience poorer survivability for a given injury event resulting in greater mortality but not morbidity. Finally, the process that selects certain individuals for deployment may lead to a spurious association between deployment status and injury mortality by preferentially selecting individuals who are risk takers and/or exposed to greater hazards. CONCLUSIONS: More research and attention from policymakers is needed to clarify the link between deployment and postwar increased risk of injury. (+info)
Regional-scale assembly rules and biodiversity of coral reefs.
Tropical reef fishes and corals exhibit highly predictable patterns of taxonomic composition across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Despite steep longitudinal and latitudinal gradients in total species richness, the composition of these key taxa is constrained within a remarkably narrow range of values. Regional-scale variation in reef biodiversity is best explained by large-scale patterns in the availability of shallow-water habitat. Once habitat area is accounted for, there is surprisingly little residual effect of latitude or longitude. Low-diversity regions are most vulnerable to human impacts such as global warming, underscoring the urgent need for integrated management at multinational scales. (+info)
ENSO-like forcing on oceanic primary production during the Late Pleistocene.
Late Pleistocene changes in oceanic primary productivity along the equator in the Indian and Pacific oceans are revealed by quantitative changes in nanoplankton communities preserved in nine deep-sea cores. We show that variations in equatorial productivity are primarily caused by glacial-interglacial variability and by precession-controlled changes in the east-west thermocline slope of the Indo-Pacific. The precession-controlled variations in productivity are linked to processes similar to the Southern Oscillation phenomenon, and they precede changes in the oxygen isotopic ratio, which indicates that they are not the result of ice sheet fluctuations. The 30,000-year spectral peak in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean productivity records is also present in the Antarctica atmospheric CO2 record, suggesting an important role for equatorial biological productivity in modifying atmospheric CO2. (+info)
STI epidemics in the Indian Ocean region: can the phase be assessed?
The Indian Ocean provides a unique opportunity to curb the HIV epidemic in its nascent phase through strengthening STI control programmes. Making effective and appropriate health services available should be regarded as the first priority for STI control in the region and, whenever possible, core groups should be identified and targeted to interrupt transmission within such networks. (+info)
Streptococcus iniae infections in Red Sea cage-cultured and wild fishes.
Streptococcus iniae was isolated from 2 moribund wild Red Sea fishes, Pomadasys stridens (Pomadasyidae) and Synodus variegatus (Synodontidae), both collected in shallow waters along the Israeli coast of the Gulf of Eilat. The site is approximately 2 km from a mariculture cage farm in which streptococcal infections were diagnosed in previous years in the red drum Sciaenops ocellatus. This is the first report of S. iniae in Red Sea fishes. Biochemical and molecular similarities between the isolates from cultured fishes and those from the wild specimens suggest that a single strain is involved, and that 'amplification' and dispersal of this pathogen from captive to feral fishes have occurred. At the molecular level, the pathogen is different from the S. iniae isolates that have been afflicting the Israeli freshwater aquaculture in recent years. Although S. iniae prevalence in the wild fish populations of the area remains to be determined, the northernmost region of the Gulf of Eilat, virtually landlocked and with generally calm seas and weak currents, seems to be particularly vulnerable to the impact of diseases that develop in this mariculture system. (+info)
Cyanobacteria associated with coral black band disease in Caribbean and Indo-Pacific Reefs.
For 30 years it has been assumed that a single species of cyanobacteria, Phormidium corallyticum, is the volumetrically dominant component of all cases of black band disease (BBD) in coral. Cyanobacterium-specific 16S rRNA gene primers and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses were used to determine the phylogenetic diversity of these BBD cyanobacteria on coral reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific Seas. These analyses indicate that the cyanobacteria that inhabit BBD bacterial mats collected from the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific Seas belong to at least three different taxa, despite the fact that the corals in each case exhibit similar signs and patterns of BBD mat development. (+info)