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Prevalence of chronic fatigue & chemical sensitivities in Gulf Registry - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related research

  [ 91 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • September 20, 1999

More than 68000 of the 700000 veterans of the Gulf War have
become members of the Veteran Affairs' Gulf War Registry. In
1995, we undertook a questionnaire study of the symptoms and
medical histories reported by a randomly selected subsample of
1935 of these veterans to characterize their complaints. All
results reported were based on questionnaire responses without
face-to-face evaluation or physical examinations. Inasmuch as
initial registry symptoms overlapped those of Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, we also included
standard questions for these syndromes in the questionnaire.

total of 1161 (60%) individuals responded, and there were no
major demographic biases; therefore, 15.7% of registry
veterans qualified for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in accordance
with the 1994 Centers for Disease Control definition. In
addition, 13.1% qualified for multiple chemical sensitivities
in accordance with a widely used definition, and 3.3% of the
respondents had both conditions. There were no effects of
gender, race, branch, duty status (active or reserve), or
rank, although Multiple Chemical Sensitivities was somewhat
more prevalent in women and African Americans.

The data
gleaned in this study suggested that the unexplained symptom
syndromes of Chronic Fatigue and Multiple Chemical
Sensitivities may characterize an appreciable portion of the
complaints of those who volunteered for the Veterans Affairs'
Gulf War Registry, and further investigation is warranted.

Kipen HM, Hallman W, Kang H, Fiedler N, Natelson BH

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