Symptoms in 18,495 Persian Gulf War Veterans: Latency of onset and lack of association with self-reported exposures

Kurt Kroenke, Patricia Koslowe, Michael Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Toxic or environmental exposures have been suggested as a possible cause of symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans. To further explore this hypothesis, we analyzed findings in 18,495 military personnel evaluated in the Department of Defense Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program. The program was established in 1994 to evaluate Persian Gulf veterans eligible for Department of Defense medical care who had health concerns after service in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The evaluation included a structured clinical assessment, a physician- administered symptom checklist, and a patient questionnaire addressing self- reported exposures, combat experiences, and work loss. Among 18,495 patients examined, the most common symptoms were joint pain, fatigue, headache, memory or concentration difficulties, sleep disturbances, and rash. Symptom onset was often delayed, with two-thirds of symptoms not developing until after individuals returned from the Gulf War and 40 % of symptoms having a latency period exceeding one year. There was no association between individual symptoms and patient demographics, specific self reported exposures, or types of combat experience. Increased symptom counts were associated with work loss, the number of self-reported exposures, the number of types of combat experience, and certain ICD-9 diagnostic categories, particularly psychological disorders. Prolonged latency of symptom onset and the lack of association with any self-reported exposures makes illness related to toxic exposure less likely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-528
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1998

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Gulf War
Indian Ocean
Veterans
Poisons
Ego
Environmental Exposure
Military Personnel
Program Evaluation
Arthralgia
International Classification of Diseases
Exanthema
Checklist
Fatigue
Headache
Sleep
Demography
Psychology
Physicians
Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Symptoms in 18,495 Persian Gulf War Veterans : Latency of onset and lack of association with self-reported exposures. / Kroenke, Kurt; Koslowe, Patricia; Roy, Michael.

In: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 40, No. 6, 06.1998, p. 520-528.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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