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HuffPo: Robert Bales Charged: Military Scrambles To Limit Malaria Drug Just After Afghanistan Massacre

S-ROBERT-BALES-largeEditor's Note: This article on Huffington Post by my former UPI reporting partner Mark Benjamin reports on a Pentagon directive last week to review the military's use of mefloquine, the anti-malaria drug (trade-name: Lariam) we investigated for several years. This once again raises the issue of prescription drugs that can do far more harm than the government (FDA, CDC, DOD) is willing to acknowledge. To see the actual directive, click  HERE. Photo credit, AP.

Dan Olmsted.

Robert Bales Charged: Military Scrambles To Limit Malaria Drug Just After Lariam Afghanistan Massacre

WASHINGTON -- Nine days after a U.S. soldier allegedly massacred 17 civilians in Afghanistan, a top-level Pentagon health official ordered a widespread, emergency review of the military’s use of a notorius anti-malaria drug called mefloquine.

Mefloquine, also called Lariam, has severe psychiatric side effects. Problems include psychotic behavior, paranoia and hallucinations. The drug has been implicated in numerous suicides and homicides, including deaths in the U.S. military. For years the military has used the weekly pill to help prevent malaria among deployed troops.

The U.S. Army nearly dropped use of mefloquine entirely in 2009 because of the dangers, now only using it in limited circumstances, including sometimes in Afghanistan. The 2009 order from the Army said soldiers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury should not be given the drug.

The soldier accused of grisly Afghanistan murders on March 17 of men, women and children, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2010 during his third combat tour. According to New York Times reporting, repeated combat tours also increase the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Bales' wife, Karilyn Bales, broke her silence in an interview Sunday with NBC's Matt Lauer, airing on Monday's Today show. "It is unbelievable to me. I have no idea what happened, but he would not -- he loves children. He would not do that," she said in excerpts released Sunday.

Read and comment on the full article on HuffPo HERE.

 > ‐‐‐‐‐Original Message‐‐‐‐‐
> From: SRMC_OFFICIAL_TASKER@amedd.army.mil
[mailto:SRMC_OFFICIAL_TASKER@amedd.army.mil]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:03 PM
> To: SRMC ALL MTF OPS;
> Subject: Review of Mefloquine Prescribing Practices
> Importance: High
>
> View Task Review of Mefloquine Prescribing Practices (https://srmcportal.
amedd.army.mil/srmc_hq/ops/Lists/TASKER/Dispform.aspx?ID=2793)


>
> View SRMC OFFICIAL TASKER (https://srmcportal.
amedd.army.mil/srmc_hq/ops/Lists/TASKER)
>
> TASKER TITLE / SUBJECT: Review of Mefloquine Prescribing Practices Assigned To:
AMED\srmc all mtf ops
>
> REOCCURRENCE: 0
>
> TASK:
> SUSPENSE: Monday, 26 MAR 12 at 1200hrs Central Time
>
> SUBJECT: Review of Mefloquine Prescribing Practices
>
> SRMC STAFF Assistance POCs:
>
> LEAD: SRMC Clinical Operations
>
> ASSIST: SRMC Readiness Division and SRMC Preventive Medicine Consultant
>
> SRMC MTF Leadership (DCCs/PM/OPS)
>
> 1. TASK: Review current quality assurance procedures for the use of mefloquine
and provide results of review to SRMC Clinical Operations at
srmclinicaloperations@amedd.army.mil NLT Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1200 hrs
Central Time.
>
> 2. PURPOSE: The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) requested
each Service to review procedures for the use of mefloquine at military treatment
facilities, pre‐deployment processing locations, and deployed locations.
>
> 3. BACKGROUND: Some deploying Service members may be prescribed mefloquine
for malaria prophylaxis without appropriate documentation in their medical
records and without proper screening for contraindications. Additionally, not
all individuals are given the FDA required mefloquine medication guide and wallet
card. DoDI 6490.03, “Deployment Health”, 11 August 2006, requires all Force
Health Protection prescriptions to be dispensed by prescription and that the
prescriptions are recorded in individual medical records.
>
> 4. COORDINATING INSTRUCTIONS:
> a. Special Instructions:


>
> (1) MTFs review 25 individual records or 20% of total records, whichever is
greater, and provide information on the following categories:
> (a) Documentation of screening for contraindications
>
> (b) Documentation of patient education
>
> (c) Documentation of mefloquine prescriptions in medical records
>
> (d) Confirmation that healthcare providers have been informed of
mefloquine screening and documentation requirements
>
> (2) Identify deficiencies
>
> (3) Develop measures to correct deficiencies
>
> b. Primary Tasking POCs: COL Kimberly Kesling, ACoS, Clinical Operations at
kimberly.kesling@amedd.army.mil or (210)‐2493 or Dr. Richard DeMouy at
richard.demouy@amedd.army.mil or (210) 295‐2060.
>
> c. Readiness Division POC for SRP records review: Dr. Johnie Tillman at
johnie.tillman@amedd.army.mil or (706) 787‐4050.
>
> d. SRMC Preventive Medicine / Technical POC: COL Forrest Oliverson at
forrest.oliverson@amedd.army.mil or (210) 295‐2409
>
>
> SRMC POC: AMED\kimberly.kesling@amedd.army.mil
>
> SRMC SUSPENSE DATE:3/26/2012 12:00:00 PM
>
> Last Modified 3/20/2012 3:03:04 PM by AMED\eric.j.newland
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
>
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
>
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE

 

Comments

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Cherry Sperlin Misra

A few days back I met an old friend who told me about her experience taking an antimalarial as a preventive: She looked up at the ceiling fan and it seemed to her as whirling knives ready to attack her. She became aware that she was backed against the wall in fear. Fortunately she realized what was happening and stopped the medication. We both agreed that it is preferable to wait for a bout of malaria(which may not happen for many years on end - years of hundreds of mosquito bites) and then take the treatment.

Visitor

Just thowing out some simple ideas based on the fact that those this man supposedly killed are targets which make no sense from what you would intuitively think. It makes no sense at all.

Considering the chemcial composition of the drug and allowing psych stress could have played a role, although maybe not and he could have had other predspositions for biological dysfunction, here is a thought that ties in possibly with elements possibly even related to utism.

The recent study on genes and Mecp2 says this:

"The top dysregulated pathway map in the young autistic brain was the A2A receptor signaling pathway (Table 1, Diagnosis main effect map folders). Adenosine receptors play important roles for both brain development and function including the regulation of neuronal stem cell proliferation (via nitric oxide signaling) [57], synaptic plasticity, motor function, cognition and emotion-related behaviors. This pathway has been a therapeutic target for studies of other complex neurologic and psychiatric disorders [58]."

I shouldn't mention the vaccines he has been given in the military as a factor, but you can use your imagination. Then he may have been given Lariam.

If this drug effects the A2A receptor there may be a connection to nueropsychological effects.

Wiki says of A2A:


"The gene encodes a protein which is one of several receptor subtypes for adenosine. The activity of the encoded protein, a G protein-coupled receptor family member, is mediated by G proteins which activate adenylyl cyclase, which induce synthesis of intracellular cAMP. The encoded protein is abundant in basal ganglia, vasculature, T lymphocytes, and platelets and it is a major target of caffeine."

If the basal ganglia is impacted via A2A receptors it could be effecting Thalamocortical radiations and comminication with the cerebral cortex and thalmus.

Wiki says of this:


Absence seizures

>Thalamocortical radiations have been researched extensively in the past due to their relationship with attention, wakefulness, and arousal. Past research has shown how an increase in spike-and-wave activity within the TC network can disrupt normal rhythms involved with the sleep-wakefulness cycle, ultimately causing absence seizures and other forms of epileptic behavior. Burst firing within a part of the TC network stimulates GABA receptors within the thalamus causing moments of increased inhibition, leading to frequency spikes, which offset oscillation patterns [9][10] . Another study done on rats suggests during spike-and-wave seizures, thalamic rhythms are mediated by local thalamic connections, while the cortex controls the synchronization of these rhythms over extended periods of time. Thalamocortical dysrhythmia is a term associated with spontaneously reoccurring low frequency spike-and-wave activity in the thalamus, which causes symptoms normally associated with impulse control disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other forms of chronic psychosis [11] ....

Evolutionary theories of consciousness

Theories of consciousness have been linked to thalamocortical rhythm oscillations in TC-CT pathway activity. One such theory, the dynamic core theory of conscious experience, proposes four main pillars in support of conscious awareness as a consequence of dorsal thalamic activity [25]: 1) the results of cortical computations underlay consciousness 2) vegetative states and general anesthetics work primarily to disrupt normal thalamic functioning 3) the anatomy and physiology of the thalamus implies consciousness 4) neural synchronization accounts for the neural basis of consciousness."

This would be much more complex a reaction, but this is a simple theory and theoretical theories on consciousness
enter the picture too.

Angus Files

Nightmare...my uncle was a 51st Higland Regiment soldier in the World Wars ,and was after a year or two , assigned to the 1st Para Regiment, and came right through the war (His father survived world war one)

I have seen "horror photos" circulated by the UK government to the troops at those time`s "to keep moral up" of what damage we were doing to the enemy" .Some resemble fence posts ,what age of the troops you wouldn’t want to guess showing all that is left is the spine of a German soldier blown up...that’s all that is left surroundedby freshly ploughed mud from a bomb..

I know through my father telling me (who is still alive)the fact that during the Suez crisis (he did 25 years UK Royal Navy) that the first boat ashore lost a sailor 19 years of age...(through a ricocheting snipers bullet)

They sent a boat ashore, carrying Royal Marines .Ghurkhas etc, and managed to pin point where the snipers bullet came from ...as you do!!! After a fight captured the snipers ,took them back to the ship ,formed a circle and kicked the snipers to death and chucked the dead bodies over board....

You say why? well if the command didn’t allow the deaths of the snipers they would have had a mutiny on board the ship...war is sad ,anyone that thinks it is clinical is dreaming.

This soldier who shot these poor kids obviously has a disorder that they should have balanced up to and addressed to in warfare command..(previous days seen one of his mates legs blown off, himself twice injured as well in previous tours a,and six UK soldiers were blown up days before..).. many more want to fill his place so why keep him at it….To die for your country is a great thing ,at one time, but not these days…Eton Cameron days in the bubble…(I don`t get out of bed for him never mind die..) when justice has to be seen to be done on part of the enemy(the kids and women are innocent)….sucks!!but I feel sorry for this soldier as well ..he has been let down..

Angus


Benedetta

Have we not already gone through this???
I mean even "Law and Order" did a show on it?
Is this still the same one?

Bob Moffitt

"For years the military has used the weekly pill to help prevent malaria among deployed troops."

(Is Malaria a serious problem in Afghanistan?)

How can we be certain this drug is meant to "prevent malaria among deployed troops" .. and .. not meant to "increase aggression among deployed troops?

Here is a quote from the Huffington Post article by a serviceman who took Lariam:

"You're ready to take that plunge into hurting someone or hurting and killing yourself, and it comes on unbelievably quickly,” said one Special Forces soldier diagnosed with permanent brain damage from Lariam. “It's just a sudden thought, it's the right thing to do. You'll get a mental picture, and it's in full color."

I don't think the military ought to be handing out a drug that may cause some men to impulsively think "hurting or killing ANYONE .. is the right thing to do"?

Rachael

George-Andreas Pogany stated in a 2005 msnbc.com news article, that Lariam (mefloquine)caused him to become panicked and disoriented and that he reached for both his loaded pistol and rifle as he thought he saw the enemy bursting into his room. Pogany asked his superiors for help; the Army packed him home to face charges of cowardice — the first such case since Vietnam.

Hallucinations linked to drug given to troops:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6947472/ns/health-mental_health/t/hallucinations-linked-drug-given-troops/

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