Gulf War Illness-relatred Medical Research & Publications

Defining Illnesses

  • Haley, R.W. et al. Evaluation of Neurologic Function in Gulf War Veterans. JAMA 1997; 277:223-230. Building upon the above study, the authors compared 23 GW veterans with the most severe symptoms of Syndromes 1, 2, and 3 (cases) with two groups of veterans with no serious health problems. The 23 cases had more evidence of brain dysfunction by several neuropsychological tests. Neurophysiological and audiovestibular tests among cases generally did not exceed normal limits for the testing laboratory, but the results were significantly more in the abnormal direction in the cases than in the controls. The authors conclude that the cases' scores "more in the abnormal direction on objective tests of neurologic function" support their hypothesis that "a subset of veterans with Gulf War-related illnesses appears to have a subtle neurologic injury or illness contracted in the war."
  • Haley, R.W. and Kurt, T.L. Self-reported Exposure to Neurotoxic Chemical Combinations in the Gulf War. JAMA 1997; 277: 231-237. The authors administered surveys to the 249 participants in the study above. The authors conclude that they have demonstrated associations between specific risk factors (especially cholinesterase-inhibiting compounds) and systematically defined syndromes in GW veterans. They liken the syndromes to variants of organophosphate-induced delayed polyneuropathy (OPIDP). The article's discussion elaborates on the mechanism of OPIDP and the related scientific evidence which is compatible with their hypothesis. They discuss at length the controversy about whether or not chemical agents which do not cause acute symptoms can cause delayed neurological effects.
  • Unwin, C. et al. Health of UK Servicemen Who Served in Persian Gulf War. Lancet (1999) 353: 169-178. British servicemen who served in the Gulf War (GWV) were compared to those who did not deploy to the Gulf and to others who deployed to the Bosnia conflict. GWV reported all symptoms and conditions more frequently than the comparison groups. Among servicemen in all three groups, perceptions of poorer health were associated with virtually all potential risk factors or exposures, regardless of deployment status. Patterns of symptoms were the same in all three groups, suggesting that there is no specific "Gulf War Syndrome." The authors plan further studies which will include detailed examinations of symptomatic veterans and controls.
  • Ismail, K. et al. Is There a Gulf War Syndrome ? Lancet (1999) 353: 179-182.The authors used factor analysis to analyze the symptoms reported by British Gulf War veterans and other veterans. Three factors (or groups of symptoms) were identified and labeled mood-cognition, respiratory system, and peripheral nervous system. Although Gulf War veterans reported a higher frequency of symptoms than veterans who did not deploy to the Gulf and veterans of the Bosnia deployment, the similarity in the patterns of symptoms among all three study groups did not support the existence of a syndrome unique to Gulf War veterans. The discussion compares this study with the two previously published studies of Gulf War veterans which used factor analysis (Haley, R. et al. and Fukuda, K. et al.) .
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