Joan and Sanford I Weill Medical College of Cornell New York United States
Gulf War illness GWI, a chronic and debilitating pain, headaches, impaired memory and thinking, fatigue, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, and skin abnormalities. Exposure and sensitivity to chemical, pharmaceutical andor environmental toxins in a combat theater of operations is believed to be causative of the illness. The pathobiological mechanisms of GWI are unknown there are no validated diagnostic tests, nor are there effective treatments or cures. This is a case-control study consisting of 20 Gulf War veterans affected with GWI and 20 matched non-affected Gulf War veterans, who will serve as the normal control group. All subjects will undergo brain positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans for assessments of metabolic or neurochemical disturbances that may be associated with GWI. In all consenting participants, a lumbar puncture will be performed to obtain cerebrospinal fluid CSF, which will be analyzed for abnormalities in biochemical compounds that may be related to GWI. The derived neuroimaging and CSF metabolic or biochemical data will be compared between the groups to determine if there are abnormal changes in GWI veterans compared to controls, which may shed new light onto the pathophysiology of GWI, as well as serve as biomarkers of the disorder.