Friday, November 8, 2013

Torture Survivors Suffer Years Later: Tel Aviv University Study

     In November 2013, researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University found that survivors of torture suffer a heightened perception of pain, years after the torture.
     Researchers, including lead author Ruth Defrin, believe psychological torments, like mock executions, contribute to a long-term distortion of neurological perception of pain.
     Several of the physical and psychological torments suffered by Israeli soldiers in 1973 were also suffered by Americans in British custody in occupied New York City--starvation, mock execution, and overcrowding.  
     Researchers studied 104 veterans of the Yom Kippur War (1973), comparing 60 people who became Prisoners of War (POWs) to 44 who did not.  
Read a great story on the findings by Sarah Griffiths at UK paper The Daily Mail.  You can read a summary of the European Journal of Pain article, or purchase access to the full article at the Wiley Online Library

     For accounts of mock executions by British soldiers in 1776, please check Edwin G. Burrows, Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners during the Revolutionary War (New York: Basic Books, 2008) pages 6-7.  For overcrowding, check posts like "December 12, 1776: Prisoners in New York City."  For accounts of starvation, and Americans returning from British military hands in an "emaciated" condition, please consult posts in this blog like "October 23: French Prisoners" or "Memories of a Prison Ship," for the story of one prison ship survivor who fought a fellow-prisoner over which of them would have the privilege of eating "the putrified carcase of a starved RAT!"
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