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Neurology of Iraq refugees studied

BALTIMORE, April 12 (UPI) -- A U.S. study found many Iraqi refugees, including the victims of torture and the disabled, are affected by brain and nervous system disorders.

"There are an estimated 40 million displaced refugees worldwide and the number of Iraqi refugees continues to grow due to conflicts in the Middle East," Farrah Mateen at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said. "Our study presents the first results of a large national pilot project by the United Nations to monitor neurological disease in displaced people."

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The research is being presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Honolulu.

The research analyzed data on 36,953 registered Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers in Jordan in 2010, of which 7,621 received health assistance.

A total of 1,295 refugees, or about 4 percent of all those registered, were reported to have a brain or nervous system disorder, the study found.

The study found that 5 percent of refugees with brain or nervous system disorders reported having been tortured compared with 3.1 percent of those without a diagnosed disorder.

"Our study highlights the great need for neurological health services, health education regarding neurological disorders and long-term disease management for refugees from war-torn countries," Mateen said.

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