The Quirra Syndrome: Matter of Translational Medicine

Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series B: Physics and Biophysics book series (NAPSB)


The study deals with the military firing range of Perdasdefogu (Sardinia–Italy) called PISQ, the activities there performed and the impact that some activities could have on human and animal health. The research started from some occurrences of evidence of diseases (a.k.a. Quirra Syndrome) among a population of 2,500 human inhabitants and an unknown number of animals, and proposes a novel type of investigation to verify whether the effects of military activities can trigger pathologies in humans. The investigation takes as starting point the analyses of the pathological tissues of inhabitants who developed cancers of the blood and the soft tissues. This was done by means of a Field Emission Gun Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope equipped with an X-ray microprobe of an Energy Dispersion System in order to detect micro- and nano-sized foreign bodies and identify their chemical composition. This method indicates the exposure the patients underwent by inhaling polluted air or ingesting polluted food. The investigation is based on the fact that the explosion of weapons hitting a target implies a temperature rise within the volume involved. The higher the temperature, the thinner are the particles (bomb + target) produced and aerosolized, thus allowing a higher possibility of particle internalization in the body. So, the study of the internalized particles compared with those produced by the different military activities through an environmental 1-year-long survey carried out by the Italian Ministry of Defense can give an idea if there is a coincidence of chemical composition. The pollution detected in the urban area of Mantua (Italy) is taken as a reference or control. The results indicate that in the pathological tissues of ten civilians, two soldiers who worked in the PISQ and five malformed lambs born of ewes that pastured in the firing range that there is the presence of nano-sized foreign bodies with chemical compositions that can be the results of bomb explosions and not of a usual urban environmental pollution.


Military firing range Nanoparticles Combustion Leukaemia Hodgkin’s lymphoma 


  1. 1.
    Biggeri A et al (2006) Report on health status of residents with industrial, mining or military sites in Sardinia, Italy. Epidemiologia e Prevenzione Italia 30(Suppl 1):5–95Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Broccia G, Cocco P, Casula P (2001) Incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin disease in Sardinia, Italy: 1974–1993. Haematologica 86:58–63Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Broccia G, Longinotti M, Ginnico B, Porcu C, Chessa E (2011) Haematological malignancies on the island of Sardinia, 1974–1993: a geographical study. J Open Hematol 5:4–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zucchetti M (2006) Environmental pollution and population health effects in the Quirra area, Sardinia island (Italy) and the depleted uranium case. J Environ Prot Ecol 7:82–88Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zucchetti M, Coraddu M, Littarru B, Cristaldi M (2011) Environmental pollution and health effects in the Quirra area, Sardinia (Italy). Fresenius Environ Bull 20:810–817Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gramiccioni L (2004) Caso Sindrome di Quirra, Report Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) n. 33619, RomaGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mellis G, Lorrai S (2012) Monitoraggio ambientale al PISQ. Analisi chimiche su matrici fisiche e biologiche (Lotto 3-Fase veterinaria), Internal Report Italy, pp 1–48Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Final Report (2013) Commissione parlamentare di inchiesta sui casi di morte e di gravi malattie che hanno colpito il personale Italiano … del senato del 16 marzo 2010- Relazione sulle risultanze delle indagini svolte dalla commissione.
  9. 9.
    Gatti AM, Montanari S, (2005) Handbook of nanostructured biomaterials and their applications in nanobiotechnology. Capitolo 12: risk assessment of microparticles and nanoparticles and human health. American Scientific Publishers, Stevenson Ranch, California USA, pp 347–367Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gatti AM, Montanari S (2008) Nanopatology: the health impact of nanoparticles. Pan Stanford Publishing, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nemmar A, Hoet PHM, Vanquickenborne B, Dinsdale D, Thomeer M, Hoylaerts MF, Vanbilloen H, Mortelmans L, Nemery B (2002) Passage of inhaled particles in to the blood circulation in humans. Circulation 105(4):411–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Oberdörster G, Sharp Z, Atudorei V, Elder A, Gelein R, Kreyling W, Cox C (2004) Translocation of inhaled ultrafine particles to the brain. Inhal Toxicol 16(6–7):437–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gatti AM, Bosco P, Rivasi F, Bianca S, Ettore G, Gaetti L, Montanari S, Bartoloni G, Gazzolo D (2011) Heavy metals nanoparticles in fetal kidney and liver tissues. Front Biosci (Elite edition E3) 1:221–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gatti AM, Quaglino D, Sighinolfi GL (2009) A morphological approach to monitor the nanoparticle-cell interaction. J Imaging 2(S09, Editorial 1):2–21Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISTEC-CNRFaenza (RA)Italy
  2. 2.Nanodiagnostics srlModenaItaly

Personalised recommendations