Saturday, 1 September 2012
Birth Defects study in Fallujah Iraq
A study published today in the Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (1) finds rates of congenital anomaly at birth in Fallujah Iraq to be 11.5 times higher than the comparable rate in Kuwait. In a prospective study begun at the start of 2010, each case of congenital malformation was examined at birth at one of three clinics at Fallujah General Hospital together with details of the type of malformation and parental information on possible causes (e.g. consanguinity, smoking, drugs during pregnancy, age of mother etc). There were 291 CA cases registered at birth in the 11 month period at the study’s clinic. The total number of births recorded in the hospital over the period was 6015.
The CAs included 113 heart and circulatory system cases, 72 nervous system cases, 40 digestive system cases, 9 genitourinary cases, 6 ear, face and neck cases, 7 respiratory cases and 30 Down syndrome cases.
The authors concluded that the many anecdotal reports of unusually high levels of congenital malformation in Fallujah were supported by this study. Discussing the findings, the authors regard the findings as proof of the exposure of the population of Fallujah to some genetic mutagen employed during the 2004/5 USA led attacks on the city. On the basis of earlier work (2) where measurement was made the concentration of 52 elements in the hair of the mothers of children with birth defects the authors concluded that the most likely exposure was to Uranium which was present in the mothers at unusually high concentrations and which was found, through studies of long hair which could be used as a historic exposure record, to be much higher at the time of the attacks on the city.
Prof Christopher Busby said: This study has been difficult to get published. The World Health Organisation contacted me last year following our initial report (3) and my presentation at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Their representative asked me to collaborate on a study in Iraq, both of Fallujah and in other parts of the country, and I agreed. But after I told them I had to be closely connected with the data collection so I could be sure of the results, I heard no more. The present paper was sent to four different journals, including The Lancet, and all refused to publish it, in one case even refused to look at it. The authors have been subject to continuous attacks on their credibility. If independent science dies, through threats, funding cuts and fear, then there is no hope for the human race. Scientific truth will be controlled by political power. The Islamic Doctors in the USA are to be congratulated for their brave decision to publish this important study.
Malak Hamdan added: The World Health Organisation promised to conduct a pilot study to find the rates of congenital anomaly in Iraq including fallujah - where is this report?. These babies, these children and their mothers need our help, the doctors in Fallujah are helpless, they need equipment, experts, they are desperate for governmental support. Why is the world so silent?
Christopher Busby: +44 1970 630215; +447989428833
(1) Alaani Samira, Al-Fallouji Mohannad A.R., Busby Christopher* and Hamdan, Malak (2012) Pilot Study of Congenital Anomaly Rates at Birth in Fallujah, Iraq, Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America 44(1), 1-5 (http://jima.imana.org/article/view/10463/44-1-10463)
2010 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5915/44-1-10463
(2) Alaani Samira Tafash Muhammed, Busby Christopher*, Hamdan, Malak and Blaurock-Busch Eleonore (2011) Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq Conflict Health 5, 1-15
(3) Busby, Chris*; Hamdan, Malak; Ariabi, Entesar. (2010) Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7, no. 7: 2828-2837.