Objective: The objective of this project was to compare neuropsychologic performance and quality of life in a population-based sample of deployed Gulf War (GW) veterans with and without multisymptom complaints.
Background/Methods: The study participants were obtained from the 30,000 member population-based National Health Survey of GW-era veterans conducted in 1995. Cases (N=25) were deployed to the year 1990 and 1991 GW and met Center for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for multisymptom GW illness (GWI). Controls (N=16) were deployed to the 1990 and 1991 GW but did not meet Center for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for GWI.
Results: There were no significant differences in composite scores on the traditional and computerized neuropsychologic battery (automated neuropsychologic assessment metrics) between GW cases and controls using bivariate techniques. Multiple linear regression analyses controlling for demographic and clinical variables revealed composite automated neuropsychologic assessment metrics scores were associated with age (b=−7.8; P=0.084), and education (b=22.9; P=0.0012), but not GW case or control status (b=−63.9; P=0.22). Compared with controls, GW cases had significantly more impairment on the Personality Assessment Inventory and the short form-36.
Conclusions: Compared with GW controls, GW cases meeting criteria for GWI had preserved cognition function but had significant psychiatric symptoms and lower quality of life.