Symptoms, ill-health and quality of life in a support group of Porton Down veterans

Allender, Steven, Maconochie, Noreen, Keegan, Thomas, Brooks, Claire, Fletcher, Tony, Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J, Doyle, Pat, Carpenter, Lucy M and Venables, Katherine M 2006, Symptoms, ill-health and quality of life in a support group of Porton Down veterans, Occupational medicine, vol. 56, no. 5, pp. 329-337, doi: 10.1093/occmed/kql059.

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Title Symptoms, ill-health and quality of life in a support group of Porton Down veterans
Author(s) Allender, StevenORCID iD for Allender, Steven
Maconochie, Noreen
Keegan, Thomas
Brooks, Claire
Fletcher, Tony
Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J
Doyle, Pat
Carpenter, Lucy M
Venables, Katherine M
Journal name Occupational medicine
Volume number 56
Issue number 5
Start page 329
End page 337
Total pages 9
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2006-08
ISSN 0962-7480
Keyword(s) Chemical warfare agents
Quality of life
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Summary Background: There has been a Human Volunteer Programme at the British chemical weapons research facility at Porton Down since the First World War, in which some of the participants were exposed to chemical warfare agents. Aim: To identify any striking specific morbidity patterns in members of the Porton Down Veterans Support Group (PDVSG). Methods: A self-completed postal questionnaire was prepared including health immediately after the visits to Porton Down, subsequent diagnoses and hospital admissions, symptoms in, and after, the first 5 years after the visits, fatigue symptoms and current quality of life, measured using the SF-36. Results: Responses were received from 289 of 436 (66%). Results reported here relate to 269 male respondents of mean age 66.8 years. Sixty-six per cent reported their first visit to Porton Down in the 1950s. The most common diagnoses or hospital admissions reported were diseases of the circulatory system. In the first 5 years after their visits the most common symptoms were headache, irritability or outbursts of anger and feeling un-refreshed after sleep. In the later period, most common symptoms were fatigue, feeling un-refreshed after sleep and sleeping difficulties. Sixty-five per cent met the definition for a case of 'fatigue'. Current quality of life dimensions were consistently lower than age-specific estimates from general population samples. Conclusions: Members of the PDVSG responding to this survey reported poorer quality of life than the general population. Despite there being no clear pattern of specific morbidities, we cannot rule out ill-health being potentially associated with past experience at Porton Down.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/occmed/kql059
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, The Author
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