Researchers Find Biological Evidence of Gulf War Illnesses - NYT
Researchers Find Biological Evidence of Gulf War Illnesses
By JAMES DAO
In the two decades since the 1991 Persian Gulf war, medical researchers
have struggled to explain a mysterious amalgam of problems in thousands
of gulf war veterans, including joint pain, physical malaise and
gastrointestinal disorders. In some medical circles, the symptoms were
thought to be psychological, the result of combat stress.
But recent research is bolstering the view that the symptoms, known
collectively as gulf war illness, are fundamentally biological in
nature. In the latest example, researchers at Georgetown University say
they have found neurological damage in gulf war veterans reporting
symptoms of the disease.
Using magnetic resonance imaging to study the brains of gulf war
veterans before and after exercise, the researchers discovered evidence
of damage in parts of their brains associated with heart rate and pain.
Such damage was not evident in the control group, which included
nonveterans and healthy veterans.
Such neurological damage, the researchers theorize, caused the veterans
to be more sensitive to pain, to feel easily fatigued and to experience
loss of short-term “working memory,” all symptoms associated with gulf
Their study, published by the online medical journal PLoS One on Friday....
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