Gulf War syndrome

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Related to Gulf War illness: Desert Storm syndrome

Gulf War syndrome,

popular name for a variety of ailments experienced by veterans after the Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.

The First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
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. Symptoms reported include nausea, cramps, rashes, short-term memory loss, fatigue, difficulty in breathing, headaches, joint and muscle pain, and birth defects. Ailments have been reported by American, Canadian, Australian, and British veterans alike; in some cases spouses of veterans have reported similar symptoms.

The mysterious syndrome has sparked debate between veteran's groups, congressional investigators, and the military over questions of accountability, treatment, and compensation. Hypothesized causes have included parasites, biological and chemical warfare agents, prophylactic vaccines and medications given against biological and chemical warfare agents, fumes from oil well fires, and stress. In 1994 an advisory panel organized by the National Institutes of Health reported that the syndrome represented many illnesses and many causes; they deemed biological and chemical warfare agents unlikely as causes. Causes for the illnesses in many subsets of patients have been identified, e.g., some 30 veterans had leishmaniasisleishmaniasis
, any of a group of tropical diseases caused by parasitic protozoans of the genus Leishmania. The parasites live in dogs, foxes, rodents, and humans; they are transmitted by the bites of sand flies.
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, a parasitic disease spread by sand flies, but in many instances the cause has not been identified.

In 1999 researchers said that brain scans of some sick veterans revealed signs of damage caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, and a study in 2004 suggested that some veterans may have been sensitive enough to otherwise low levels of poison gases to cause symptons associated with the syndrome. A committee appointed by Congress said in 2008 that evidence suggested that acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors, which include the nerve gas sarin, an anti-nerve-gas agent, and pesticides used against sand flies, and a genetic sensitivity to such chemicals may be the cause of the syndrome. Some medical historians have pointed out that syndromes of undiagnosable diseases have occurred after other wars, including World Wars I and II and the American Civil War.

Gulf War syndrome

a group of various debilitating symptoms experienced by many soldiers who served in the Gulf War of 1991. It is claimed to be associated with damage to the central nervous system, caused by exposure to pesticides containing organophosphates
References in periodicals archive ?
The name Gulf War illness won out over Gulf War syndrome because "syndrome" indicates a new group of signs and symptoms, while the types and patterns of symptoms in this illness commonly are seen with other illnesses.
The jury is still out on depleted uranium as a cause or contributing factor in the development of Gulf War illness.
The Senate Banking Committee's hearings were the first public forums to raise the question of low-level chemical exposure as a possible cause of gulf war illness.
This is the first study to establish a medical basis for symptoms of Gulf War Illness in a large, representative sample of veterans using validated medical tests," said Dr.
This consortium provides an opportunity to advance our understanding of Gulf War Illness through discovery of biomarkers to more accurately diagnose and treat this syndrome," said Col.
Its mission is to raise awareness of the plight of persons with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme disease, multiple chemical sensitivities/EI, and Gulf War illness, and advocate on quality of life issues.
Gulf War illness is a combination of memory and concentration problems, persistent headaches, unexplained fatigue, and widespread pain.
Department of Defense grant to fund a first-of-its-kind clinical trial: the Effectiveness of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Gulf War Illness (GWI).
WASHINGTON, March 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization is expressing "great concern" over allegations that the Department of Veterans Affairs has grossly mishandled the care of Gulf War Illness patients.
The mysterious illnesses suffered by Gulf War veterans appear to be linked to exposure to toxins, including nerve gas, according to a report published by the VA's Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness.
The researchers said the nature of Gulf War illness remained 'ambiguous'.