Pyridostigmine bromide intake during the Persian Gulf War is not associated with postwar handgrip strength.
Many Persian Gulf War veterans took pyridostigmine bromide (PB) during the Persian Gulf War. Previous research suggests that PB intake and insecticide exposure may reduce muscular strength. During 1994 and 1995, we examined the relationships between self-reported PB intake, self-reported exposures, and handgrip strength among 527 Gulf War veterans (GWVs) and 969 nondeployed veterans of that era (NDVs). We found that 25.4% and 6.7% of the GWVs and NDVs, respectively, reported generalized musucle weakness (for 1 month or longer) since the Gulf War (July 1990). Many veterans also reported exposure to insecticide during the war. Dominant handgrip strength was measured three times with a hand-held dynamometer in subjects standing with the elbow bent at a right angle. Multiple linear regression revealed that handgrip strength was negatively associated with age (p = 0.001) and female gender (p < 0.001). Handgrip strength was also found to be positively associated with height (p < 0.001), but it was not associated with PB intake (p = 0.558). Exposure to insecticides had no major effect on handgrip strength. These data suggest no association between PB intake and postwar handgrip strength.
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