Meharry Expert Available for Comment: A New England Journal of Medicine Study Reports Lung Damage in Soldiers

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Research finds lung damage in veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan

Dr. Matt King, Meharry Medical College

We believe the damage in soldiers is caused by an inhalation exposure with which they have contact while in Southwest Asia,

Meharry Medical College physician, Dr. Matthew S. King, is available to comment on research published today in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding a case study on lung damage found in veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

King, assistant professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Meharry, and Dr. Robert Miller of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, spent six years compiling a descriptive case series examining soldiers referred from the Ft. Campbell military base in Kentucky who had shortness of breath. All of the soldiers reported exposure to smoke or polluted air while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Of 80 soldiers referred from Ft. Campbell, 49 received open lung biopsy. All 49 were abnormal and 38 of them demonstrated a condition known as constrictive bronchiolitis, a rare condition in otherwise healthy individuals that is generally untreatable.

“We believe the damage in soldiers is caused by an inhalation exposure with which they have contact while in Southwest Asia,” King said.

Most of the soldiers in the study had a track record of good health, but since the exposure they have been unable to complete the required physical standards for the military and were unable to continue active duty.

King has testified before the U.S. Senate to raise awareness of the issue.

A copy of the article, “Constrictive Bronchiolitis in Soldiers Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine may be obtained by emailing cyeldell@mmc.edu

About Dr. King

Dr. Matthew King is assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Meharry Medical College. King received his M.D. degree from Indiana University. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in pulmonary critical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He as testified for the Senate Defense Appropriations Sub-committee on behalf of American Thoracic Society regarding post-deployment respiratory illness.

About Meharry Medical College

Meharry Medical College founded in 1876, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health center dedicated to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church affiliated institution. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s ranking of institutions annually lists Meharry as a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Visit http://www.mmc.edu to learn more.

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Cynthia Yeldell
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