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Veterans with Gulf War Illness: Understanding the Spectrum of Experiences Related to Aging and Demographics

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Technical Report,30 Sep 2018,29 Sep 2019

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Drexel University Philadelphia United States

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Many veterans who served in the 1990-91 Gulf War developed chronic symptoms that could not be explained by established medical diagnoses or standard laboratory tests. These included physical symptoms like widespread pain, muscle aches, headaches, persistent problems with memory and thinking, fatigue, breathing problems, digestive problems, and, skin abnormalities. Accompanying these physical challenges were changes in behavior and challenges in interpersonal relationships. The cluster of symptoms is referred to as Gulf War Illness GWI and is estimated to have affected 175,000 to 250,000 of the nearly 700,000 troops deployed to the Gulf War. Despite being over two decades out since the war, there have been no studies to date that focus on the individual and unique experiences of veterans with GWI including their perceptions of the impact of the illness, differences in experiences related to aspects like aging and gender, quality of care received, barriers faced, and, the related impact on interpersonal relationships, and, quality of life. The main research questions for the study are as follows What are the perceptions and experiences of veterans with GWI regarding symptoms of physical health, cognitive functioning, quality of life as well as the quality of care they receive In addition, the study will explore experiences related to the natural process of aging differences in experiences across demographic characteristics e.g. gender, race ethnicity, type of exposure etc. as well as capture the perceptions and experiences of healthcare providers who serve Veterans with GWI. Data for the study will include narrative interviews as well as collage self-portraits of Veterans experiences of living with GWI.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

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