Neuropsychological study of ex-veterans injured by chemical weapons using Bender-Gestalt test

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Abstract

Tens of thousands of Iranians were killed and more were physically and/or mentally injured in Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). During this war the most extensive use of chemical weapons in recent years by Iraq was reported against Iranian veterans and also Iranian and Iraqi civilians. In this study we aimed at finding probable neuropsychological injuries in victims of chemical weapons comparing other veterans. 27 ex-veterans with history of injury due to exposure to chemical weapons during Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) were examined by Bender-Gestalt neuropsychological test (group A). We compared this group with two other groups of ex-veterans, a group of 25 people with post-concussion syndrome with normal brain imaging (group B) and another group consisted of 27 veterans with other non specific physical war injuries (group C). We excluded any person with specific brain injury and/or brain imaging problem. The mean age of all groups was 38 and the mean years after injury was19 years. No specific abnormality was found in Bender–Gestalt test results of chemical weapons injured group (group A). There were abnormalities in Post Concussion group (group B) and it was significantly different from non-specific injury group (group C)(P<0.005). Exposure to chemical weapons did not lead to an abnormal neuropsychological finding in Bender-Gestalt test. Post concussion syndrome can be associated with abnormal finding in that test.