Utah Soldier Fighting Internal Battle Against His Body's Heating System

Utah Soldier Fighting Internal Battle Against His Body's Heating System

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Science Specialist Ed Yeates reportingIf the United States goes to war with Iraq, one Utah soldier won't be going with his buddies.

That's because he has his own battle to fight here at home - a rare overheating condition that when triggered - could literally burn up his body from the inside out!

Staff Sgt. Bruce Longson works quietly indoors at this National Guard Armory in Ogden. He misses his comrades who've now gone off to war.

"It's hard to watch them go out the door and think I can't go with them," Longson says.

But he can't go because his body core might overheat - perhaps to as high as 110 degrees.

"The heat really bothers me now and it's not so much bothering discomfort, I mean it really just repels me. I've basically become an indoor hermit when it's really hot," Longson says.

Researchers have been studying Sgt. Longson and others like him with a little known genetic condition called Malignant Hyperthermia.

Many don't even know they have it until something sets it off.

In Sgt. Longson's case, it was a simple tonsillectomy two years ago.

"My doctor came in and said, 'look, we don't know what's going on with you. We're running tests,'" Longson says.

Compounds in the anaesthetic which normally have no effect on patients sent his metabolism into a tail spin.

"Leg muscles, stomach muscles, back muscles, I mean it felt like you just got run over by a truck or just got done with a boxing match with Mike Tyson or something, you know -- excruciating pain," he says.

The internal thermosat that controls his body's core temperature would never be the same.

Sgt. Longson can still work out but he has to know how far to push himself. And when he works out, it has to be in a controlled environment.

No more training like he went through years ago as a Marine. No more cutting lawns in the summer heat.

Malignant Hyperthermia has altered his life forever.

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