The VISIE Foundation
From:                 "Stefano Montanari" <>
To:                   <>
Subject:              Balkan Syndrome
Date sent:            Wed, 11 Feb 2004 15:02:28 +0100

Antonietta Morena Gatti is a physicist and bioengineer, and is 
the founder and the director of the Laboratory of Biomaterials of 
the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy). She is the 
discoverer of the presence of micro- and nano-particles in 
biological tissues and of their pathological effects. The European 
Community appointed her Coordinator of the international 
group in charge of the nanopathology study.

Stefano Montanari is a pharmacist and a scientific consultant. He 
has collaborated with Dr Gatti for about 25 years.


Dr Antonietta M. Gatti – Dr Stefano Montanari

It is a well-known fact, widely reported by media, that a non-
negligible number of veterans of the Gulf War (1990-91) showed 
what according to medicine are mutually unrelated symptoms. Some 
of those can be attributed to stress: headache, for example, or sleep 
disturbance, or forgetfulness, or an impaired concentration. Other 
symptoms like fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and shortness of breath 
are somewhat harder to classify, but cancers, various and, in some 
cases, extremely unusual diseases of the genitourinary system, an 
increased incidence of birth defects among veterans’ children and 
disorders of the blood and the haemopoietic organs must be due to 
causes that cannot be legitimately ascribed to stress. Other 
pathologies Gulf War veterans are suffering from, like sudden death 
and Lou Gehrig’s disease are under investigation as to their 
But the problem is unfortunately wider and not limited to that group 
of military population.
Very similar symptoms are being displayed by soldiers who served in 
the former Yugoslavian territory during the so-called Balkan War, 
made worse by an unusually high incidence of Hodgkin’s and non-
Hodgkin’s lymphomas. Staffers of humanitarian missions and 
Yugoslavian residents as well are suffering from the same diseases.
Professor Edo Hasanbegovic, chief of the Paediatric Clinic of 
Sarajevo, denounced how leukaemia is on the increase in children 
throughout the Yugoslavian Federation, but mainly in children 
coming from Velika, Kladusa and Buzim, towns located close to the 
Croatian borderline.
An explanation to all that was offered when in March 2000 NATO 
revealed that Depleted Uranium (DU) shells had been employed in 
the Balkans and in 2001 traces of radioactivity were detected by the 
United Nations Environment Protection agency not far from 
Sarajevo, in a barracks at Han Pijesak and in two places inside a 
factory in Hadzici.
It is a frequently observed fact that radioactivity is a triggering factor 
to cancer, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki tought a painful lesson about 
that. So, uranium was immediately seen as the obvious scapegoat to 
For a better understanding, it is necessary to know that DU was used 
to make a component of some shells used in that war, but 
radioactivity played no role in that choice. High density and hardness 
are the features that made those projectiles, called kinetic 
penetrators, particularly fit for piercing even very thick armours. DU 
is what is left over when most of the highly radioactive isotopes of 
uranium are removed for use as nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. 
The DU used in armour-piercing munitions is also used in civilian 
industry, primarily as ballast, for stabilizers in airplanes and boats. 
As a matter of fact, uranium is a mixture of three isotopes: U235, 
U234, and U238. When the content of U235 is below 0.711%, uranium is 
classified as “depleted”, and the blend used in the Balkans contained 
less than 0.2% of that isotope.
DU is approximately 40 percent less radioactive than natural 
uranium and emits alpha and beta particles, and gamma rays. Alpha 
particles can hardly pass through the skin, while beta particles are 
blocked by most garments, and the amount of gamma rays, a form of 
highly penetrating energy, emitted by DU is very low.
The radioactivity produced by those weapons is certainly not healthy, 
but its full responsibility for such an unusual health situation looks at 
least doubtful if observed from a scientific standpoint.
In addition to that, another piece of evidence is raising a further 
doubt about the radioactive origin of the pathologies: A higher-than-
expected quantity of lymphomas and symptoms identical to those 
suffered from by the Balkan War’s veterans was observed in Italian 
soldiers who had never served in any theatre of war nor had ever 
come near to radioactive weapons. The condition all those soldiers 
shared was serving in firing grounds.
In the meantime, someone tried to blame the multiple vaccinations 
soldiers underwent during the so-called Operation Desert Storm, but 
without being able to give any scientific demonstration to that thesis.
As a matter of fact, in addition to the usual vaccines against tetanus-
diphtheria, hepatitis B, poliovirus, meningococcal, typhoid and 
yellow fever, the American troops were treated with Botulinum 
Pentavalent, unlicensed in the United States, intended to counteract 
Then they were treated with a vaccine against anthrax, a drug proven 
to be teratogenic. In fact, women receiving it are warned not to have 
children for at least three years.
Finally troops received Pyridostigmine bromide, not a vaccine, but a 
pre-treatment against nerve agents. That drug, normally used for 
myasthenia gravis, is not approved by the Food and Drug 
Administration as a nerve gas antidote and its side effects are 
potentially very dangerous.
But those medicines were administered to US troops only, while the 
Gulf War Syndrome affected also civilians and soldiers of other 
Thus, no answer was given to the question: why do people living in 
theatres of war and soldiers working under particular conditions 
contract those diseases with such an alarming frequency?
Our Laboratory of Biomaterials of the University of Modena and 
Reggio Emilia (Italy) is engaged in checking bioptic and autoptic 
samples coming from patients belonging in the classes described 
above. It is an indisputable fact that all samples contain inorganic 
micro- and nano-particles, while it may be interesting to observe that 
none of them show any trace of uranium.
>From the technical point of view, those very small fragments can be 
detected by using an innovative technique of electronic microscopy 
we developed and that has been already described in literature.
What we found were very small bits, sometimes agglomerated, of 
simple or combined metals: Fe-Si, Cu-Cl-Zn, Si-Ti-Fe-Al, Si-Bi, Si-
Pb, Fe-Cu-Zn, Cr-Fe-Ni, Fe-Mn and, but just once, Zr alone.
The spherical shape, hollow in the larger sizes, of many particles 
proves their formation under a very high temperature, a condition 
compatible with that of the explosion of a DU shell.
DU projectiles hit very different targets, but specially buildings and 
armaments like, for example, tanks, and when they do, the 
temperature in the core of the explosion exceeds 3,000°C, which is 
more than enough to have all solid matter sublime and, in some 
cases, form new metal alloys. That gas expands over a large volume 
of atmosphere, then, rapidly, the matter becomes solid again taking 
the shape of very small spheres (down to 10-8 m diameter), stays 
suspended in the air and is carried away over distances depending on 
atmospheric conditions like wind, rain, snow and pressure. This 
phenomenon was studied in 1977-78 at the US Air Force base of 
Leglin (Fla).
After some time, all the air-borne particles fall slowly down and 
settle on grass, vegetables, fruit or expanses of water where they 
become inevitably a guest of food and drink to animals and men 
alike. Even if that unwanted presence is known in advance – but very 
often it is utterly ignored - getting rid completely of inorganic 
particles can be very difficult. A good wash eliminates a great 
quantity of debris from fruit or vegetables, but cauliflowers, for 
example, cannot be cleaned thoroughly because of their rough 
surface, while those particles that settle in the tissues of animals that 
ate contaminated grass and men eat as meat can’t be taken away at 
Keeping in mind the well-known, even if never widely publicized, 
phenomenon studied at Leglin and the new science of nano-
pathology, an explanation to the unanswered question becomes easy.
People present in firing grounds and in the theatres of war, and being 
a soldier or a civilian makes no difference, breathe in micro- and 
nano-particles while they are suspended in the air as an aerosol, then 
eat and drink them along with vegetables and water.
We have amply demonstrated with our researches that once debris 
that size (10-9 – 10-5 m) enter the body, be it via the digestive or the 
respiratory system, they can easily negotiate the luminal tissues and 
either be captured by the tissue itself which acts the way a filter 
does, or be transported by the blood or the lymph until they end their 
travel in some organ (for instance the kidneys and the liver). Lymph 
nodes, for example, are the organs where lymphomas start and 
develop and where, in all pathological cases checked, we found the 
presence of inorganic particles. But also all the other pathologic 
specimens we had the possibility to observe show clearly and without 
any single exception the presence of debris. 
It is important to underline that none of the particles we found is 
Just to give a further confirmation about the applicability of the 
theory according to which the so-called Balkan Syndrome has an 
environmental, nanopathological origin, particles found in the 
diseased tissues of soldiers and civilians, and particles found in the 
ground of the territories where the pathologies were contracted are 
mutually compatible.
If no uranium was ever detected, that does not necessarily mean there 
is none somewhere in the tissues of the patients. The fact is likely to 
be due to its quantity, which is extremely scarce when compared with 
the huge masses of the targets that sublime and that contain no such 
element. It is also possible that uranium particles had been captured 
by tissues but, probably because they did not reach a critical 
threshold, did not trigger any disease and, as a consequence, we did 
not have the chance to receive and study the samples.
In conclusion, DU’s responsibility is only indirect, and it is not its 
radioactivity to blame, but the very high temperature that uranium 
produces once the shells of which it is a component hit the mark.
It is then possible that the Balkan Syndrome has a multi-factorial 
origin including radioactivity and vaccinations, but the main cause is 
without any doubt a nanopathological one.

For further information about nanopathology

The VISIE Foundation

Materials at risk
The experiments on the nanopathologies have highlighted the existence of foods
containing micro- and nanoparticles which are non- biodegradable and, therefore,
at risk. The page is constantly refreshed every time the possible dangerousness of
the material is proved. At the moment, an investigative report has been published
about a chewing gum containing particles of aluminium silicate of 20 micron plus
microdebris of silica, that is to say glass....

Particles of aluminium silicate and magnesium (big particle) and silica (smaller particles)
found in the matrix of the chewing gum. Both particles are non- biodegradable.