Friday, October 18, 2013

Veterans with Gulf War Illness show brain changes linked to memory deficits
Oct. 15, 2013 — New research illuminates definitive brain alterations in troops with Gulf War Illness (GWI) thought to result from the exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, including sarin gas, during the first Persian Gulf War.

"More than 250,000 troops, or approximately 25% of those deployed during the first Persian Gulf War, have been diagnosed with Gulf War Illness (GWI). Although medical professionals have recognized the chronic and often disabling illness for almost two decades, brain changes that uniquely identify GWI have been elusive until now," explained researcher Bart Rypma, principal investigator at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.

This study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, is novel in that it confirms GWI deficits in working memory, a critical cognitive function that enables short-term retention of information for higher-level thinking ability. In addition, brain alterations revealed in the study show a consistent pattern representing a neurobiological marker that could potentially be used to positively identify GWI. The research team assessed three aspects of working memory: accuracy, speed, and efficiency. Results showed that participants with GWI performed significantly slower and less accurately than matched healthy veterans, and their efficiency decreased with increasing task difficulty.

During these difficult conditions, the participants showed relatively lower levels of activity in prefrontal brain regions which may compromise their ability to implement effective, higher-level thinking strategies in cognitively demanding situations. "Our results revealed that at the root of cognitive issues in GWI patients are profound working memory deficits that correlate with a unique brain change visible in the fMRI scanner. These results support an empirical link between exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, specifically sarin nerve gas, and cognitive deficits and neurobiological changes in the brain," said Rypma. "Implementing interventions that improve working memory could have positive effects on many aspects of daily life from the ability to complete a shopping list, match names with faces, all the way to elevating mood."

"Difficulty remembering has been the most common, unexplained impairment resulting from service in the 1991 Persian Gulf War," said Robert Haley, co-investigator and Chief of Epidemiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "This functional MRI study provides the first objective evidence showing the exact malfunctions in the brain's memory circuits that underlie these chemically induced memory problems."

The new findings may also have implications for the treatment of several disorders involving similar neural systems, including one Alzheimer's disease. "Both GWI and Alzheimer's disease result in profound cognitive impairment and share similar neurochemical underpinnings," explained the study's lead author Nicholas Hubbard. "The distinct neural markers associated with cognitive performance and GWI revealed in our study can be useful for future research to objectively measure the efficacy of treatments for GWI as well as other brain disorders related to the same neurotransmitter system, like Alzheimer's disease."

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided byAssociation for Psychological Science.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:
  1. N. A. Hubbard, J. L. Hutchison, M. A. Motes, E. Shokri-Kojori, I. J. Bennett, R. M. Brigante, R. W. Haley, B. Rypma.Central Executive Dysfunction and Deferred Prefrontal Processing in Veterans With Gulf War IllnessClinical Psychological Science, 2013; DOI:10.1177/2167702613506580

Association for Psychological Science (2013, October 15). Veterans with Gulf War Illness show brain changes linked to memory deficits.ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from­/releases/2013/10/131015191409.htm
Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Do you expect that the IOM will overrule their own 10 years of rulings on CFS?

Ask HSS Sebelius: Do you believe that another IOM Panel on ME/CFS based on the fact that they have consistenly ruled by findings of facts over the last ten years including the latest 2013 VA IOM report, that CBT/GET are the most effective therapies for CFS and that immunotherapy and antiviral therapy are ineffective with regards to treatment?

This is their rulings from 2001 to 2013 from all factual evidence considered:

“Chronic fatigue For Gulf War veterans who meet the criteria for diagnosis of syndrome (CFS) CFS, the committee recommends:

• use of cognitive behavioral therapy and exercise therapies because they are likely to be beneficial;

• monitoring the results of studies of the efficacy and effectiveness of NADH, dietary supplements, corticosteroids, and antidepressants other than SSRIs;

• because immunotherapy and prolonged rest are unlikely to be beneficial, they should not be used as treatments;

• SSRIs are unlikely to be beneficial and are not recommended unless they are used as treatment for persons with concurrent major depression; and’

• treatments effective for CFS should be evaluated in Gulf War veterans who meet the criteria for CFS.”

This is what the IOM thought about CFS and ME in January of this year in their 2013 Report on Chronic Multisymptom Illness

(formerly Gulf War Illness). The IOM accepts without question a 2001 work by Wessely’s crony Michael Sharpe claiming ME is a “functional somatic syndrome” (psychosomatic). The IOM believes ME is just another name for CFS.

“The common thread among the terms is that symptoms experienced by patients cannot be explained as pathologically defined, or organic, disease (Sharpe and Carson, 2001). Such syndromes as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue syndrome

(CFS, also called myalgic encephalomyelitis), and fibromyalgia often are included in this group of unexplained illnesses, as are chronic unexplained symptoms that do not meet case definitions for IBS, CFS, fibromyalgia, and other functional somatic syndromes that have specified diagnostic criteria


Related Posts with Thumbnails