Health Watch -The Brain: Gulf War Syndrome

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This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about how the brain works. Some veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War have developed a collection of symptoms known as Gulf War Syndrome. The syndrome affects the brains of some patients, causing problems with concentration and memory, fatigue, abnormal emotional responses and personality changes. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have determined that these brain changes were caused by exposure to chemicals.

Doctors compared ill veterans to healthy veterans, giving them all safe doses of drugs that would stimulate the areas of the brain affected by chemicals, then measured the brain cell response using brain scans. Dr. Robert Haley, a UT Southwestern epidemiologist, says the scans showed a distinct difference not only between healthy veterans and sick ones, but also between different variations of Gulf War Syndrome. This process could serve as a way to definitively diagnose Gulf War Syndrome.

 

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April 2009


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