Chemicals Allegedly Used By Assad On Syrian Civilians Attack Nervous System

file photo (credit: Abo Al-Nur Sadk/AFP/Getty Images)

file photo (credit: Abo Al-Nur Sadk/AFP/Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If in fact the chemical weapons that have been used in Syria (see related story) are a form of nerve gas, we know how that works. Nerve gas breaks down an enzyme that allows nerves to talk back and forth to through each other.

The victims essentially become over stimulated. They have symptoms like chest tightness, rapid breathing, vomiting, diarrhea. They get headache, changes in the heart rate, loss of consciousness, convulsions and paralysis.

The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders have reported seeing large numbers of patients with symptoms that included convulsions, excess saliva, pin-point pupils, and blurred vision. The pin-point pupils are another key finding in nerve gas poisoning.