Military brain study under investigation

Aug. 3, 2010 at 7:19 PM
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BOSTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. officials say they're looking into allegations 80 wounded U.S. service members were improperly used as subjects in a brain injuries study.

The study, sponsored by the U.S. Naval Medical Center in San Diego, was designed to determine whether a drug used to treat Tylenol overdoses, among other uses, could also reduce the harmful effects of traumatic brain injury in service members who had been hit by explosions, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

The Pentagon's Office of Inspector General is reviewing the study for possible research misconduct on human subjects, the newspaper said. The Pentagon has not said whether anyone was adversely affected as a result of the administration of the drug.

The Pentagon investigation has delayed normal medical peer review required for any study that suggests a potential new treatment, the Globe reported.

That delay has infuriated Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.

Kennedy, who has been briefed on the study, said preliminary results suggested the treatment might be effective in reducing the harmful mental effects of mild traumatic brain injury, known as TBI.

"The irony is that the safeguards (to protect human test subjects) are blocking, it seems to me, the quick implementation of an intervention that could help mitigate the disabilities that result from the signature wound of the war," Kennedy said.

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