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Long-term neurological and neuropsychological complications of sulfur mustard and Lewisite mixture poisoning in Chinese victims exposed to chemical warfare agents abandoned at the end of WWII

TitleLong-term neurological and neuropsychological complications of sulfur mustard and Lewisite mixture poisoning in Chinese victims exposed to chemical warfare agents abandoned at the end of WWII
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsIsono O., Kituda A., Fujii M., Yoshinaka T., Nakagawa G., Suzuki Y.
JournalToxicol Lett
Volume293
Pagination9-15
Date PublishedSep 1
ISBN Number0378-4274 (Linking)
Accession Number29702200
Keywords*Arsenicals/history, *World War II, Adult, Arsenic Poisoning/*history, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, Autonomic nervous system, Autonomic Nervous System Diseases/chemically induced, CHEMICAL WARFARE AGENTS, Chemical Warfare Agents/history/*poisoning, Chemical Warfare/history/*psychology, China, Female, History, 20th Century, Humans, LEWISITE, Male, Mental Disorders/*chemically induced/*psychology, Middle Aged, Muscle Strength/drug effects, Mustard Gas/history/*poisoning, Nervous System Diseases/*chemically induced/*psychology, Neurocognitive dysfunction, Neuropsychological Tests, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Ptsd, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/psychology, Sulfur Mustard, Young Adult
Abstract

In August 2003, 44 victims were poisoned by chemical warfare agents (CWAs) leaked from five drums that were excavated at a construction site in Qiqihar, Northeast China. The drums were abandoned by the former Japanese imperial army during World War II and contained a mixture of Sulfur mustard (SM) and Lewisite. We carried out a total of six regular check-ups between 2006 and 2014, and from 2008 we added neurological evaluations including neuropsychological test and autonomic nervous function test in parallel with medical follow-up as much as was possible. Severe autonomic failure, such as hyperhidrosis, pollakiuria, diarrhoea, diminished libido, and asthenia appeared in almost all victims. Polyneuropathy occurred in 35% of the victims and constricted vision occurred in 20% of them. The rates of abnormal response on cold pressor test (CPT), active standing test (AST), Heart rate variability (CVR-R), performed in 2014, were 63.1%, 31.6%, and 15.9%, respectively. On neuropsychological testing evaluated in 2010, a generalized cognitive decline was observed in 42% of the victims. Memories and visuospatial abilities were affected in the remaining victims. Finally, a 17-item PTSD questionnaire and the Beck Depression Inventory evaluated in 2014 revealed long-lasting severe PTSD symptoms and depression of the victims. Our findings suggest that an SM/Lewisite compound have significant adverse consequences directly in cognitive and emotional network and autonomic nervous systems in the brain.

URLhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29702200
DOI10.1016/j.toxlet.2018.04.017
Short TitleLong-term neurological and neuropsychological complications of sulfur mustard and Lewisite mixture poisoning in Chinese victims exposed to chemical warfare agents abandoned at the end of WWII

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