[Note: This article suggests GWS could be a manifestation of a newly described autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA). Adjuvants are agents added to vaccines to achieve a greater immune response using a minimum amount of antigen. GWS patients were subjected to heavy vaccination programs, and studies show adjuvants "may trigger inflammatory or autoimmune illnesses in genetically susceptible people." The February 2012 issue of Lupus is dedicated to ASIA.]
Gulf War syndrome (GWS) is a multi-symptom condition comprising a variety of signs and symptoms described in the literature, which have not been fully resolved.
The various symptoms of the condition include muscle fatigue and tiredness, malaise, myalgia [muscle pain], impaired cognition, ataxia, diarrhea, bladder dysfunction, sweating disturbances, headaches, fever, arthralgia [joint pain], skin rashes, and gastrointestinal and sleep disturbances.
In addition, excessive chemical sensitivity and odor intolerance is reported.
The etiology of the condition is unclear, but many reviews and epidemiological analyses suggest association with pyridostigmine bromide (PB), certain vaccination regimes, a variety of possible chemical exposures, including smoke from oil-well fires or depleted uranium from shells, as well as physical and psychological stress.
Recently, Shoenfeld et al. suggested that four conditions - siliconosis, macrophagic myofaciitis (MMF), GWS and post-vaccination phenomena - which share clinical and pathogenic resemblances, may be incorporated into common syndrome called 'Autoimmune (Autoinflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants' (ASIA).
Symptoms and signs of the four conditions described by Shoenfeld et al. show that at least 8 out of 10 main symptoms are in correlation in all four conditions. Namely:
• Chronic fatigue,
• Neurological cognitive impairment,
• Gastrointestinal symptoms,
• Respiratory symptoms,
• Skin manifestations
• And appearance of autoantibodies [antibodies manufactured by the immune system and directed against proteins in one’s own tissues].
Regardless of the etiology of GWS, be it exposure to environmental factors or chemical drugs, vaccinations or the adjuvants in them, GWS fits well with the definition of ASIA and is included as part of 'Shoenfeld's syndrome'.
Source: Lupus, Feb 2012; 21(2):190-4. Israeli E. The Zaludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Tel-Hashomer, Israel. [Email: email@example.com]