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Brain Studies Show Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Gulf War Illness Are Distinct Conditions

Saturday 2 November 2019


From Medical Xpress:


Brain studies
The insula region of the brain (right column) has greater
activation in chronic fatigue syndrome than in
healthy controls or those with Gulf War illness.
The cerebellum (middle column) has less activation
in Gulf War illness than healthy controls or
chronic fatigue syndrome. The brainstem has
less activation (left column) in Gulf War illness
and greater activation in chronic fatigue syndrome.
These differences emerge after exercise.
(Credit: Stuart Washington)

Brain studies show chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf War illness are distinct conditions

By Georgetown University Medical Center
October 23, 2019
© Medical Xpress 2011 - 2019.

Gulf War Illness (GWI) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) share symptoms of disabling fatigue, pain, systemic hyperalgesia (tenderness), negative emotion, sleep and cognitive dysfunction that are made worse after mild exertion (postexertional malaise). Now, neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have evidence, derived from human brain studies, that GWI and CFS are two distinct disorders that affect the brain in opposing ways.

The findings, presented in two related studies at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) in Chicago, offer a new perspective on neurotoxicity and suggest that methods to effectively diagnose and treat these disorders could be developed, says the studies' senior author, James Baraniuk, MD, a Georgetown professor of medicine.

GWI affects veterans of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War who were exposed to a toxic environment of nerve agents, pesticides and other neurotoxins, while the etiology of CFS is unknown. The overlapping symptoms suggest they may share some common mechanisms of disease.

Baraniuk was first to find unique physical changes in the brains of patients with GWI, and he and his colleagues have also found changes in brain chemistry between GWI and CFS. "This new work further emphasizes that chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf War Illness are two very real, and very distinct, diseases of the brain," he says.


Full article…



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