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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
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General
Project Summary

Title: Physiological and Psychological Assessments of Persian Gulf Veterans
Synopsis: The project's aim was to determine if unexplained illnesses in some Gulf War Veterans is similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) in civilian populations.
Overall Project Objective: This project will determine if some of the unexplained medical illnesses in Persian Gulf veterans may be similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) in civilian populations. It will include viral/immunological studies, neuropsychological studies, and studies of physiological responses to a number of physical and cognitive challenges. A series of psychosocial factors will be evaluated to determine whether they are risk factors for the illnesses suffered by these veterans.
Status/Results to Date: This project ended in March 1998, and a number of papers have been published or sent out for review. Data that are still in preparation include a paper showing that 30% of Gulf veterans fulfilling published case criteria for CFS/ICF have comorbid PTSD and this latter group has the most impaired cardiovascular reactivity to stress of any among the group of vets with CFS/ICF.
Project:VA-5B
Agency:Department Of Veterans' Affairs
Location:VAMC East Orange
P.I. Name:Benjamin H Natelson, M.D.
Research Type:Clinical
Research Focus:Symptoms & General Health
Focus Category:General Health & Physical Symptoms
Status:Complete
Study Start Date:October 01,1994
Estimated Completion Date:March 01,1998
Specific Aims: 1. To determine whether viral or cytokine patterns may suggest an infectious agent as a cause of illness in Persian Gulf veterans; 2. To determine if these veterans suffer chronic fatigue or chemical sensitivity; 3. To determine psychosocial risk factors that might have predisposed some veterans to develop their medical problems; 4. To determine if there are neuropsychological deficits in Persian Gulf veterans; 5. To determine if these veterans have abnormal physiological responses to physiological and cognitive challenges.
Methodology: Persian Gulf veterans who have chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity, or a combination of these and healthy control veterans are recruited for these studies. Blood samples are drawn, peripheral lymphocytes are isolated, and polymerase chain reactions are used to quantify herpes, Epstein Barr and other viruses and to assess the level of interleukins and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. The subjects fill out a series of psychosocial instruments and environmental exposure surveys. A battery of neuropsychological tests are given in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. To evaluate the possibility of early peripheral neuropathy, neurological evaluation is supplemented with test of threshold for fine touch in the distribution of the radial nerve in the hand using Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments. Finally, we perform comprehensive testing of autonomic nervous system function and evaluate the veteran's ability to respond appropriately to behavioral challenges.
Most Recent Publications:

Natelson BH, Zhang Q, Zhou XD, Denny T, Ottenweller JE, Gause W. Altered immune status in Gulf War veterans but not civilians with chronic fatigue syndrome. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Washington, DC, 115, 1998. Abstract

Peckerman A, Natelson BH, LaManca JJ, Pollet C, Smith SL, Ottenweller JE. Cardiovascular hyporeactivity and immune system functioning in Gulf War veterans with chronic fatigue syndrome. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Washington, DC, 116, 1998. Abstract

Peckerman A, LaManca JJ, Smith SL, Taylor A, Tiersky L, Pollet C, Korn LR, Hurwitz BE, Ottenweller JE, Natelson BH. Cardiovascular stress responses and their relation to symptoms in Gulf War veterans with fatiguing illness. Psychosomatic Medicine, Jul-Aug;62(4):509-16, 2000. Abstract

Zhang Q, Zhou XD, Denny T, Ottenweller JE, Lange G, LaManca JJ, Lavietes MH, Pollet C, Gause W, Natelson BH. Changes in immune parameters seen in Gulf War veterans but not in civilians with chronic fatigue syndrome. Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology, 6;(1):6-13, Jan 1999. Abstract

Fiedler N, Kipen H, Natelson BH, Ottenweller JE. Chemical Sensitivities and the Gulf War: Department of Veterans Affairs Research Center in Basic and Clinical Science Studies of Environmental Hazards. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 24:(1):S 129-38, Aug 1996. Abstract

Fiedler N, Kipen H, Natelson BH, Ottenweller JE. Chemical Sensitivities and the Gulf War: Department of Veterans Affairs Research Center in Basic and Clinical Science Studies of Environmental Hazards. Multiple Chemical Sensitivites: State of the Science Symposium, Baltimore, MD, Oct 1995. Abstract

Gilhooly P, Ottenweller JE, Atelson B. Chronic fatigue and sexual dysfunction in female Gulf War veterans. New Perspectives in the Management of Female Sexual Dysfunction, Boston University, Boston, MA, 1999. Abstract

Lacey S, Robinson K, Umile E, Plotkin R, Vandenborne K, D'Esposito M. Evaluation of working memory in Persian Gulf War veterans with chronic fatigue. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Pentagon City, VA , 52, 1999. Abstract

Fiedler N, Lange G, Tiersky L, DeLuca J, Policastro T, Kelly-McNeil K. Fatiguing illness and the Gulf War veteran: The NJ Environmental Hazards Research Center. 105TH Annual Meeting of the APA, Chicago, IL, 1997. Abstract

Tiersky L, Natelson BH, Ottenweller JE, Lange G, Fiedler N, DeLuca J. Functional status and mood in Gulf War veterans with fatiguing illness. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Washington, DC, 75, 1998. Abstract

Tiersky L, Natelson BH, Ottenweller JE, Lange G, Fiedler N, DeLuca J. Functional status and mood in Persian Gulf veterans with unexplained fatiguing illness. Military Psychology, 1998. Article

Lange G, Tiersky L, Scharer J, Fiedler N, Pollet C, Morgan J. Gulf War illness is a heterogeneous disorder. 105TH Annual Meeting of the APA, Chicago, IL, 1997. Abstract

Wallace HL, Natelson BH, Gause W. Human herpesviruses in chronic fatigue syndrome. Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology, 6(2):216-23, Mar 1999. Abstract

Peckerman A, Natelson BH, Pollet C, LaManca JJ, Smith SL, Ottenweller JE. Immune and cardiovascular system functioning in Gulf War veterans with chronic fatigue syndrome. Society for Behavioral Medicine, New Orleans, LA, 1998. Abstract

Pollet C, Natelson BH, Lange G, Tiersky L, DeLuca J, Policastro T. Medical evaluation of Persian Gulf veterans with fatigue and/or chemical sensitivity. Journal of Medicine, 29;101-113, 1998. Abstract

Fiedler N, Kipen H. Multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome and the Gulf War. Toxicology and Industrial Health, In Press, 1998. Article

Fiedler N, Kipen H. Multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and the Gulf War. 105TH Annual Meeting of the APA, Boston, MA, Aug 1998. Abstract

Peckerman A, Natelson BH, LaManca JJ, Smith SL, Pollet C, Ottenweller JE. PTSD, chemical exposures, and abnormal changes in cardiovascular system functioning in Gulf War veterans with chronic fatigue. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Pentagon City, VA; 50-51, 1999. Abstract

Lange G, Tiersky L, DeLuca J, Scharer J, Policastro T, Fiedler N. Pattern of cognitive function in registry Gulf War veterans: a preliminary study. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Washington, DC; 70, 1998. Abstract

Natelson BH, Fiedler N, Policastro T, Kipen H. Preliminary prevalence data on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) in Persian Gulf veterans. J Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 2:136-137, 1996. Abstract

Natelson BH, Fiedler N, Policastro T, Kipen H. Preliminary prevalence data on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) in Persian Gulf veterans. First World Congress on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Related Disorders, Brussels, 1995. Abstract

Lange G, Tiersky L, DeLuca J, Peckerman A, Pollet C, Policastro T, Scharer J, Ottenweller JE, Fiedler N, Natelson BH. Psychiatric diagnoses in Gulf War veterans with fatiguing illness. Psychiatry Research, 13;89(1):39-48, Dec 1999. Abstract

Lange G, Tiersky L, Scharer J, Fiedler N, Pollet C, Morgan J. Psychiatric profile of Gulf War veterans: A preliminary summary. 105TH Annual Meeting of the APA, Chicago, IL, 1997. Abstract

Tiersky L, Lange G, Natelson BH. Quality of life in Gulf veterans with unexplained illness. 106th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, 1998. Abstract

Rappolt G, Tiersky L, Ottenweller JE, Natelson BH. Quality of work experience in Gulf veterans with unexplained fatiguing illness. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Washington, DC; 72, 1998. Abstract

Busichio K, Tiersky L, Golden P, Rappolt G, Natelson BH. Somatic complaints in Gulf War veterans with unexplained fatiguing illness. Gender differences. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Pentagon City, VA; 52, 1999. Abstract

Fiedler N, Lange G, Tiersky L, DeLuca J, Policastro T, Kelly-McNeil K. Stress, personality, & coping in Gulf War veterans with fatiguing illness. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Washington, DC; 68, 1998. Abstract

Natelson BH, Policastro T, Kang HK, Fiedler N, Kipen H. The Persian Gulf syndrome: an epidemic presentation of severe fatiguing illness. Integrative Physiology and Behavior Science, 30:106, 1995. Abstract

Lange G, Tiersky L, DeLuca J, Peckerman A, Pollet C, Policastro T. The relationship between psychiatric diagnoses and fatiguing illness in Gulf War veterans. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Washington, DC; 71, 1998. Abstract

Tiersky L, Lange G, Rappolt G, Busichio K, Natelson BH. Unexplained illness in Gulf War veterans; examining personality pathology. Conference on Federally Sponsored Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Research, Pentagon City, VA; 55, 1999. Abstract