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Assessment of MRI-Based Marker of Dopaminergic Integrity as a Biological Indicator of Gulf War Illness

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Technical Report,06 Mar 2018,05 Mar 2019

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Baylor College of Medicine HOUSTON United States

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Up to one third of military veterans who served in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War continue to suffer from Gulf War illness GWI, a complex of chronic symptoms that includes persistent headaches, memory and cognitive difficulties, widespread pain, unexplained fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and other difficulties. Multiple findings of significant central nervous system CNS involvement have been reported in veterans with GWI. But despite preliminary indicators of neuronal dysfunction in the corticostriatal circuit in veterans with GWI, it has not been well-studied. The current study leverages existing brain imaging data from well-characterized samples of 1991 Gulf War veterans to provide in-depth assessment of the substantia nigra, basal ganglia and cortex as markers of integrity of the nigro-striatal dopaminergic pathway using high resolution diffusion tensor imaging DTI. Due to project delays and institutional changes over the previous year, several project changes have been approved in order to accelerate study progress, including addition of two additional study sites. This will allow more rapid consolidation of data for the targeted sample in order to evaluate alterations in brainstem and basal ganglia integrity. Additional analyses will characterize etiologic and clinical correlates of dopaminergic pathway alterations, including associations with GWI symptom presentation.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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