Vol. 4, No. 1, 1998 Page 7


In several high-profile trials, Vietnam veterans have blamed criminal acts on "post-traumatic stress syndrome." However, a new study suggests that some vets' aberrant behaviors may have a far different explanation: malaria.

N. R. Varney and colleagues evaluated the neuropsychiatric status of Vietnam veterans who had contracted cerebral malaria between 1966 and 1969, comparing them to vets who had not suffered from malaria. The researchers found that "cerebral malaria results in multiple, major, substantially underappreciated neuropsychiatric symptoms in Vietnam veterans, including poor dichotic listening, `personality change,' depression, and, in some cases, partial seizure-like symptoms."

The researchers strongly recommend that "a history of malaria... be considered in any medical, psychological, or psychiatric workup of a Vietnam War veteran."


"Neuropsychiatric sequelae of cerebral malaria in Vietnam veterans," N. R. Varney, R. J. Roberts, J. A. Springer, S. K. Connell, and P. S. Wood, Journal of Nerv. and Mental Disorders, Vol. 185,

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