Skip Navigation LinksHome > June 1999 - Volume 41 - Issue 6 > Gulf War Illnesses: Causation and Treatment
Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
Original Articles

Gulf War Illnesses: Causation and Treatment

Hodgson, Michael J. MD, MPH; Kipen, Howard M. MD, MPH

Collapse Box


Soldiers returning from the Gulf War in 1991 described a range of symptoms, including some consistent with the chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivity. Well-defined adverse health events attributable to service in the Gulf occurred. However, controlled epidemiological studies in Gulf War veterans and controls describe significant excesses of symptoms that were not clearly associated with pathologic disease. At least 12% of veterans currently receive some form of disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs. A number of reports outline theories proposed to explain the excess, but few are scientifically supported. Management guidelines for this spectrum of disorders resembles that of many of "emerging overlap syndromes," including multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. They include the establishment of a trusting doctor-patient relationship, negotiations around a common ground of scientific and etiologic beliefs, non-labeling of the disorder, and work toward recovery in the absence of clear etiologic answers.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


Article Tools


Article Level Metrics