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Physiologic Effects of Stress in Gulf War Veterans.

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Annual rept. 30 Sep 97-29 Sep 98,

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The pause of Gulf War Illnesses GWI remains unclear. There appears to be a constellation of symptoms and syndromes that occur in a higher rate in deployed than non deployed individuals. Although the precise reason for GWI remains unknown, symptoms nearly identical to GWI are noted in several syndromes that occur at a high rate in the general population, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, somatoform disorder, and multiple chemical sensitivity. A significant problem encountered when examining potential pathogenic mechanisms for GWI is demonstrated by a series of articles which appeared recently in the JAMA. In this issue were population-based studies which demonstrated that individuals who were deployed to the Gulf War were more likely to display the above-noted syndromes and symptoms, and physiologic studies performed on small numbers of highly selected subjects which demonstrated some abnormalities in neural function. However, there is no way to determine if the abnormalities noted in these few individuals who had physiologic studies are generalizable to the entire population, or to verify the validity of self-report data. In the present study, we propose to eliminate this problem. This proposal describes a collaborative effort between investigators performing a population based study of this illness, and another group studying pathophysiologic responses to stress which could be responsible for this symptom complex. Using this methodology, a representative sampling of symptomatic and asymptomatic PGW veterans will be selected from a large database and recruited to come to Georgetown to have a battery of physiologic studies performed to assess function of the human stress response, including the autonomic nervous system, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and nociceptive function.

Subject Categories:

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

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