Tags: Gulf | War | Syndrome | Vets | Show | Brain | Flaws

Gulf War Syndrome Vets Show Brain Flaws

Tuesday, 28 November 2000 12:00 AM

Doctors said that images of the brain show certain deficits in production of chemicals required for optimal brain functioning and when those deficits occur a whole range of problems can occur among the veterans who fought against Iraq in 1991.

At the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, Dr. Robert Haley, professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, said, "This study puts to rest the idea that Gulf War Syndrome is due to stress."

Haley said numerous studies had assumed that the real cause of the myriad Gulf War Syndrome symptoms were due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the magnetic imaging spectroscopy studies he performed on 12 patients with the worst cases of the disorder shows no correlation between PTSD and the problems his group of subjects is having.

Co-researcher Dr. James Fleckenstein, professor of radiology at the University of Texas, said, "Magnetic resonance spectroscopy continues to validate an organic basis for Gulf War patients' complaints and disabilities in a more specific way than older tests in past research."

For example, Haley said, the new findings show that damage on the right side of the brain appears to cause certain symptoms such as impaired sense of direction, memory lapses and depression. Damage on the left side appears to cause more global confusion, including difficulties in understanding instructions, reading, solving problems and making decisions. Left-side damage also appears to cause the production of high levels of dopamine, an important brain hormone involved in movement and emotions.

Damage to the brain stem appears to account, in part, for loss of balance and dizzy spells and correlates with objective tests of brain stem reflexes important in balance.

"These veterans would have problems getting lost, they had sexual dysfunction, they had problems making decisions," Haley said. Similar difficulties were seen in animal studies with similar brain dysfunction. "The bottom line here," Haley said, "is that brain cell damage that we see with magnetic resonance spectroscopy explains the symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome."

"These conclusions should be viewed with caution," said Dr. Helvig Hricak, chairman of radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. "This is very good work, but it is controversial. The researchers keep showing findings that have tremendous implications in the way patients with Gulf War Syndrome are treated." Hricak said, however, that the work has some shortcomings, the major one being the small number of subjects. Haley examined 12 veterans of the war and compared them to 18 normal men from the same battalion.

While the study was well-designed, Hricak said, it still has to be considered to be an observational study, which lacks the power of studies with scientific proof.

Haley said he believes that some of the troops now suffering from Gulf War Syndrome were exposed to low levels of nerve gas during the desert fighting to lift the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Fleckenstein said it was also possible that the veterans were affected by compounds in the anti-nerve gas medication used to ward off possible nerve gas attacks by Iraq.

(C) 2000 UPI. All Rights Reserved.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
Doctors said that images of the brain show certain deficits in production of chemicals required for optimal brain functioning and when those deficits occur a whole range of problems can occur among the veterans who fought against Iraq in 1991. At the annual meeting of the...
Gulf,War,Syndrome,Vets,Show,Brain,Flaws
522
2000-00-28
Tuesday, 28 November 2000 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved