Serum dioxin and peripheral neuropathy in veterans of operation ranch hand

Drue H. Barrett, Robert D. Morris, Fatema Z. Akhtar, Joel E Michalek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied whether exposure to Agent Orange and its contaminant, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (dioxin), during the Vietnam War is related to peripheral neuropathy. The index subjects were veterans of Operation Ranch Hand, the unit responsible for aerial herbicide spraying in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. We report peripheral nerve function assessed in 1982, 1985, 1987, 1992 and 1997, nerve conduction velocities measured in 1982, and vibrotactile thresholds of the great toes measured in 1992 and 1997. We assigned each Ranch Hand veteran to one of three exposure categories named "background", "low" and "high", based on his serum dioxin level. Other than the bilateral vibrotactile abnormalities, we consistently found a statistically significant increased risk of all indices of peripheral neuropathy among Ranch Hand veterans in the high exposure category in 1997, and a statistically significant increased risk of diagnosed peripheral neuropathy, incorporating bilateral vibrotactile abnormalities of the great toes, in the high category in 1992. Restricting to the enlisted veterans did not alter these results. Cautious interpretation of these results is appropriate until the relationship between pre-clinical diabetes mellitus and peripheral neuropathy is further evaluated in future examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-490
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroToxicology
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dioxins
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
Veterans
Hand
Hallux
Vietnam
Herbicides
Spraying
Medical problems
Serum
Impurities
Antennas
Neural Conduction
Peripheral Nerves
Diabetes Mellitus
Agent Orange
1,4-dioxin

Keywords

  • Dioxin
  • Epidemiology
  • Herbicides
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • TCDD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology

Cite this

Serum dioxin and peripheral neuropathy in veterans of operation ranch hand. / Barrett, Drue H.; Morris, Robert D.; Akhtar, Fatema Z.; Michalek, Joel E.

In: NeuroToxicology, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2001, p. 479-490.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Barrett, Drue H. ; Morris, Robert D. ; Akhtar, Fatema Z. ; Michalek, Joel E. / Serum dioxin and peripheral neuropathy in veterans of operation ranch hand. In: NeuroToxicology. 2001 ; Vol. 22, No. 4. pp. 479-490.
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