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Research Topics
Health and Human Services Department of Defense Veterans Affairs Health and Human Services Gulf War Information Department of Defense Gulf War Information Veterans Affairs Gulf War Information Home Home Advanced Search Glossary FAQs Site Map Contact Us
 Research Topics    |    Major Focus Areas
Research Topics
ACCIDENTS & INJURIES
BONE, JOINT & MUSCLE
BRAIN & NERVOUS
CANCER
CARDIOVASCULAR
CHEMICAL WARFARE
DIGESTIVE HEALTH
ENVIRONMENTAL & OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
FAMILY HEALTH
GENERAL HEALTH & PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
GENETIC STUDIES
HEALTH RESEARCH OF ALLIED FORCES
IMMUNE/BLOOD SYSTEM
INFECTIONS
LUNG & RESPIRATORY
MENTAL HEALTH
MILITARY WORKING DOGS
MORTALITY/DEATH
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH/OUTCOMES
SLEEP DISORDER
Treatment
VACCINES & PROTECTIVE MEDICATIONS
General Health & Physical Symptoms
General
Project Summary

Title: Psychobiological Assessment of Desert Storm Veterans
Synopsis: This study was designed to evaluate the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical symptoms in Gulf War veterans by comparing the type and frequency of symptoms reported by veterans with PTSD with the type and frequency of symptoms reported by veterans with unexplained illnesses.
Overall Project Objective: While prior studies show that combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report more physical symptoms than veterans without PTSD, the link between PTSD and somatic complaints in Persian Gulf War veterans (PGWVs) is yet to be evaluated.
Status/Results to Date: The 24 PGWVs (12.8%) with PTSD (MPTSD score >116) reported more combat exposure (P=.02) and a greater number of physical symptoms (P=.001) than other PGWVs. Fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, dizziness, back pain, stomach ache, and numbness were much more likely to be reported by those with PTSD (MPTSD score >116) than by those without PTSD (MPTSD score <95). Physicians examining PGWVs should be alert to the possibility of PTSD in this group and that those with PTSD are more likely to report physical symptoms that may overlap with those in Persian Gulf syndrome. Consequently, mental health screening is essential, since for those veterans with PTSD diagnosis or other coexisting conditions may be confounded and early effective treatment of their PTSD may be delayed. Also, given the increased reporting of certain symptoms by those with PTSD, those seeking the cause of Persian Gulf syndrome should control for PTSD when determining the symptom cluster that may constitute this condition.
Project:VA-51
Agency:Department Of Veterans' Affairs
Location:VAMC Cincinnati
P.I. Name:Dewleen Baker, M.D.
Research Type:Clinical
Research Focus:Brain & Nervous System
Focus Category:General Health & Physical Symptoms
Status:Ongoing
Study Start Date:April 22,1992
Estimated Completion Date:April 22,2002
Specific Aims: We examine the relationship of PTSD and somatic complaints in PGWVs, specifically to determine if PGWVs exhibit PTSD effects similar to those observed in veterans of other conflicts and to delineate the specific somatic complaints accompanying the PTSD symptoms in the Gulf War group.
Methodology: A questionnaire booklet was completed by 188 PGWVs, of whom half were patients in a veterans health screening clinic and half were non-treatment-seeking volunteers on active duty. The booklet included the Combat Exposure Scale, the Mississippi Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Scale (MPTSD), and a subjective symptom-based health questionnaire.
Most Recent Publications:

Baker D, Mendenhall CL, Simbartl LA, Magan LK, Steinberg JL. Relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and self-reported physical symptoms in Persian Gulf War veterans. Arch Internal Medicine, 157:2076-78, 1997. Article

Kellner M, Baker D, Yehuda R. Salivary Cortisol in Operation Desert Storm Returnees. Bio Psych, 849-850, 1997. Article