Rare Lung Damage Found in U.S. Soldiers, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Study

Published: Jul 21, 2011

Shortness of breath and reduced fitness among some military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may be caused by lung damage from smoke, sandstorms and toxins, a new study suggests. Researchers who performed lung biopsies on 38 veterans with unexplained breathing problems found a form of tissue damage -- called constrictive bronchiolitis -- that is rare in young adults and doesn't show up in standard tests. In all but one case, a "lacy black pigment" also coated the delicate lung surfaces. Dr. Robert Miller of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center said the cases, which he has been gathering for years, are apparently caused by exposure to airborne toxins during deployment.

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