Except there is no evidence that the biological condition was caused by Gulf War exposures.
The New York Times reports:
Using magnetic resonance imaging to study the brains of gulf war veterans before and after exercise, the researchers discovered evidence of damage in parts of their brains associated with heart rate and pain. Such damage was not evident in the control group, which included nonveterans and healthy veterans.
Such neurological damage, the researchers theorize, caused the veterans to be more sensitive to pain, to feel easily fatigued and to experience loss of short-term “working memory,” all symptoms associated with gulf war illness.
Their study, published by the online medical journal PLoS One on Friday, does not try to explain the causes of the damage. It also found different patterns of damage in two groups of veterans, indicating that the disease — if it is indeed a single ailment — takes different paths in different people.
But the authors said the findings, along with other recent research, may offer clues in developing treatments and diagnostic tests for the illness, which currently is diagnosed through self-reported symptoms and has no definitive treatment.
Two other studies released by Georgetown this year have also pointed to neurological damage in the brains of veterans reporting symptoms of gulf war illness, including one that showed abnormalities in the nerve cells linking parts of the brain involved in processing feelings of pain and fatigue.
The research makes clear that “gulf war illness is real,” said Rakib U. Rayhan, the principal author of the new study. “There is objective evidence that something is wrong in the brains of these veterans.”
Other experts offered more tempered views, noting that most of the subjects in the Georgetown study were self-selected and that their number was relatively small: 28 veterans with symptoms and 10 participants without symptoms.