Troops to be screened for effects of war in Iraq

British troops who fought in Iraq last year are to be screened to find out
how the war affected them physically and psychologically.

It is hoped the study will give the military an early warning of any trends
in illnesses since the conflict. In particular, the Ministry of Defence wants
to assess the mental impact of the war, and whether soldiers are experiencing
symptoms similar to the ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ suffered by many veterans of the
1991 conflict.

Trauma associated with ‘friendly fire’ incidents, which played a large part
in the conflict, is also expected to come under the spotlight.

The post-TELIC (the British operation in Iraq) screening programme will also
look at factors such as vaccinations given to protect against germ warfare, the
use of depleted uranium and any particular stress factors arising out of the
conflict.

It will be led by Simon Wessely, professor of psychiatry at King’s College,
London.

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