Increased postwar symptoms & psychological morbidity among U.S. Navy Gulf War veterans – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related research

To investigate reports on war-related morbidity, 527

active-duty Gulf War veterans and 970 nondeployed veterans

from 14 Seabee commands were studied in 1994 with a

questionnaire, sera collection, handgrip strength, and

pulmonary function testing. The questionnaire assessed postwar

symptoms, war exposures, and screened for chronic fatigue

syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychological

symptoms suggesting neurosis (Hopkins Symptom Checklist). Sera

were tested with four nonspecific reactant assays: C-reactive

protein, transferrin, ferritin, and haptoglobin. Gulf War

veterans reported a higher prevalence for 35 of 41 symptoms,

scored higher on psychological symptom scales, were more

likely to screen for post-traumatic stress disorder, had lower

handgrip strength, and had higher serum ferritin assay

results. Numerous comparisons of these morbidity outcomes with

30 self-reported exposures demonstrated many associations, but

no unique exposure or group of exposures were implicated.

Morbidity data are consistent with other postwar observations,

but the etiology for morbidity findings remains uncertain.

Gray GC, Kaiser KS, Hawksworth AW, Hall FW, Barrett-Connor E

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