Veteranclaims’s Blog

June 14, 2013

Gulf War Illness, Brain Atrophy Associated with Orthostatic Tachycardia and Increased Pain Sensitivity

Full article at Forbes, very good article with links:
A New Step In Solving The Mystery Of Gulf War Illness

“Gulf War Illness is the crippling but mysterious fatigue that can strike unpredictably and is exacerbated after physical exercise”, and “is often at the root of the condition, which is described by the Department of Veterans Affairs as a “chronic multisymptom disease.””

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center, “found that veterans had distinct responses to the exercise challenges, which were two bicycle stress tests. One group of 10 subjects had abnormally rapid heartbeats — a clinical condition known as orthostatic tachycardia – while the remaining veterans experienced a significant increase in pain sensitivity. Meanwhile, the control group exhibited none of these differences.

In both subgroups, the evidence suggested dysfunction in the central nervous system. Something was amiss in the way the veterans’ bodies handled physical exertion, but the researchers didn’t know why. The fMRI scans, though, held important clues.

For the group with rapid heartbeats, imaging showed atrophy of the brain stem, which regulates heart rate. And in the subjects with increased soreness and discomfort, the researchers saw grey matter atrophy in adjacent regions of the brain associated with pain perception.”

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