Gulf War illnesses: causation & treatment – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia related research

Soldiers returning from the Gulf War in 1991 described a range of

symptoms, including some consistent with the chronic fatigue

syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivity.

Well-defined adverse health events attributable to service in

the Gulf occurred. However, controlled epidemiological studies

in Gulf War veterans and controls describe significant

excesses of symptoms that were not clearly associated with

pathologic disease. At least 12% of veterans currently receive

some form of disability from the Department of Veterans

Affairs. A number of reports outline theories proposed to

explain the excess, but few are scientifically supported.

Management guidelines for this spectrum of disorders resembles

that of many of “emerging overlap syndromes,” including

multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and

fibromyalgia. They include the establishment of a trusting

doctor-patient relationship, negotiations around a common

ground of scientific and etiologic beliefs, non-labeling of

the disorder, and work toward recovery in the absence of clear

etiologic answers.

Hodgson MJ, Kipen HM

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