VA study of medical records on birth defects (was Re: [ RadSafe ]RE: uranium in the gulf war)

James Salsman james at
Mon Jul 24 19:55:01 CDT 2006

I spoke with Dr. Kang by telephone today.  He confirmed that the
total number of "moderate to severe" birth defects in children of
male Gulf War veterans INCREASED from an odds ratio of 1.8 from
survey data to 2.2 after the pediatric medical records were examined.

The report which Colonel Daxon cited was an internal V.A. draft
which Dr. Kang and his co-authors produced in response to reviewer
comments asking for a breakdown by specific type of birth defect
instead of total numbers.  When that analysis was performed, the
numbers of each kind were so small that none could be shown to be
statistically significant, unlike the total number of "moderate to
severe" defects.  Dr. Kang refuses to release that draft or cite
it in his bibliography because of his concerns about its accuracy
brought about by that reviewer's request.  Dr. Kang is no longer
seeking publication of the pediatric evaluation until considerably
more data is obtained by the V.A., in hopes that the odds ratios
for the specific types of birth defects can be shown with enough
accuracy to be considered statistically significant.  The process
of collecting such data is going slowly, Dr. Kang said, because of
the difficulty of having veteran parents come in with their kids.

The Doyle & Ryan paper was indeed peer reviewed, and seriously
misrepresented Dr. Kang's work, calling his report of the near-doubling
of birth defects reported in the children of male GWVs "evidence
of a modest increase in risk" and omitting all mention of the children
of female vets, which Dr. Kang reported as nearly tripling.  I did
not ask Dr. Kang whether he believes that Drs. Doyle and Ryan will
ever be held to account for their blatant misrepresentation.

James Salsman

Eric Daxon wrote:
> Don Mercado wrote: 
> <<"You mysteriously neglected to include the last sentence of that
> paragraph. And I quote, 'His research is currently undergoing peer review.
> .... 'While the Associated Press and other news media entities reported the
> finding, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific
> journal, steps required to gain acceptance in the scientific community.
> (Occasionally, scientific papers undergo extensive changes during this
> process as methodologies are carefully analyzed, assumptions challenged, and
> conclusions modified.)">>
> Also absent from the discussion was the nature of the Gulf War Review. It is
> an informational outreach publication for Gulf War veterans not a peer
> reviewed journal.  The section Mr. Salsman cited was actually a note at the
> bottom of an answer to a veteran's question concerning birth defects.  The
> full quote is as follows:
> "*Note: Dr. Brown's remarks pre-dated Dr. Han Kang's findings discussed in
> the article on the Research Advisory Committee. Preliminary results,
> announced by Dr. Kang, found that male Gulf War veterans reported having
> infants with likely birth defects at twice the rate of non-veterans.
> Furthermore, female Gulf War veterans were almost three times more likely to
> report children with birth defects than their non-Gulf counterparts. The
> numbers changed somewhat with medical records verification. However, Dr.
> Kang and his colleagues concluded that the risk of birth defects in children
> of deployed male veterans still was about 2.2 times that of non-deployed
> veterans. His research is currently undergoing peer review."
> Dr. Doyle's paper (my previous post) is peer reviewed and I have provided
> Mr. Salsman the citation he requested.  I regret he is unable to find the
> paper.
> v/r
> Eric Daxon

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