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Researchers Find Biological Evidence of Gulf War Illnesses

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by JohnnyD, Jun 14, 2013.

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  1. JohnnyD

    JohnnyD Senior Member

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    Researchers Find Biological Evidence of Gulf War Illnesses

    By JAMES DAO


    Published: June 14, 2013


    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/15/u...f-gulf-war-illnesses.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    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 war illness.
    Their study, published by the online medical journal PLoS One on Friday, does not try to explain the causes of the damage. It also found different patterns of damage in two groups of veterans, indicating that the disease — if it is indeed a single ailment — takes different paths in different people.

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