Study: Combat Trauma Seen in Civil War
By CARLA K. JOHNSON
The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
CHICAGO -- A look at the medical records of Civil War soldiers suggests post-traumatic stress disorder existed back then, too, according to a study.
The researchers found that veterans who saw more death in battle had higher rates of postwar illness. Younger soldiers, including boys as young as 9, were more likely than older ones to suffer mental and physical problems after the war.
Eric T. Dean, author of "Shook over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War," used the same records in his research. He said he is skeptical the 19th-century medical records could be made standard enough for the researchers' statistical analysis to be valid.
He also questioned relying on the diagnoses of doctors from the 1800s.
"This is a heroic effort," Dean said. "I just think it's a stretch. Beyond proving war is hell, I just question their nuanced conclusions."
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