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From The Center for Public Integrity:
The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is reviewing allegations of research misconduct in a mild traumatic brain injury clinical trial with U.S. Marines in Iraq, according to documents and interviews.

Mild traumatic brain injury has affected at least 137,000 members of the armed services who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some estimates put the number much higher. The often-devastating malady can cause vertigo, migraines, loss of balance, hearing loss, and other problems affecting memory and mental focus. Mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, is often caused by the blast wave associated with improvised explosive devices detonating near U.S. military vehicles.

A Pentagon source told the Center that the suspected research misconduct involves the use of a dietary supplement – N-acetylcysteine – a readily available, over the counter antioxidant. The source requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the review. There were “some questions about how it was being administered” during the clinical trial that took place December 2008 through December 2009, said the source.

N-acetylcysteine is used to treat a variety of ailments from helping to decongest lungs to counteracting carbon monoxide poisoning. Most mild traumatic brain injury victims suffer from a loss of hearing and balance – anti-oxidants like N-acetylcysteine might counteract these effects if service members are promptly treated after blast exposure, some medical experts believe.

An estimated 80 service members, mostly Marines, were treated with the supplement, the source said. So far, there is no indication of harmful side effects due to the use of the supplement, the source added.

Read the entire article.

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