St. Louis, June 8, 2005 - More than a decade after the first Gulf War in 1991, a detailed comparison of the health of veterans who were deployed to the Persian Gulf region and veterans who served elsewhere has found that the health of the two groups is very similar.
However, the study also found that Gulf War veterans are more likely to have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome.
The proportion of Gulf War veterans with these two illnesses is very small, according to lead author Seth Eisen, M.D., physician at the St. Louis Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and professor of medicine and psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"But that doesn't mean these conditions aren't serious concerns for those veterans who still have them 10 years later," Eisen says.
Fibromyalgia syndrome afflicts sufferers with persistent, widespread pain. Chronic fatigue syndrome leaves sufferers with a disabling loss of energy. Despite decades of awareness of both conditions, their causes remain unclear, and no definitive cure exists for either condition.
The study, funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, appears in the June 7 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. It was conducted at 16 VA medical centers across the nation over a period of approximately 3 years. For the study, researchers performed a detailed series of medical and psychiatric assessments on approximately 1100 veterans deployed to the Gulf War region and 1100 veterans who were not deployed in that war.
"In addition to a comprehensive standard medical examination, we arranged a series of very specialized tests based on areas of potential problems suggested by earlier studies of veterans," Eisen explains.
Based on their age, gender and racial characteristics, there were no significant differences between rates of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in the non-deployed veterans and in the general population. However, while 0.1 percent of non-deployed Page: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Michael C. Purdy
Washington University School of Medicine
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