Seth A. Eisen, MD; Han K. Kang, DrPH; Frances M. Murphy, MD; Melvin S. Blanchard, MD; Domenic J. Reda, PhD; William G. Henderson, PhD; Rosemary Toomey, PhD; Leila W. Jackson, PhD; Renee Alpern, MS; Becky J. Parks, MD; Nancy Klimas, MD; Coleen Hall, MS; Hon S. Pak, MD; Joyce Hunter, MSN; Joel Karlinsky, MD; Michael J. Battistone, MD; Michael J. Lyons, PhD; and the Gulf War Study Participating Investigators*
Eisen SA, Kang HK, Murphy FM, Blanchard MS, Reda DJ, Henderson WG, et al. Gulf War Veterans' Health: Medical Evaluation of a U.S. Cohort. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:881-890. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-142-11-200506070-00005
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(11):881-890.
*Cohort obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense Manpower Data Center, Monterey, California. Deployed cohort included all deployed troops, and nondeployed cohort was approximately half of all nondeployed troops in service between September 1990 and May 1991. † Stratified random sampling applied to the U.S. Department of Defense cohort to adequately represent women, reservists, and National Guard members. ‡ Stratified random sampling applied to participants in the 1995 study to select by geographic proximity to 1 of 16 participating Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. § We initially invited 2084 veterans to participate. To achieve examined groups of equal size, we invited an additional 799 veterans to participate in the fourth solicitation wave of 50 veterans per site.
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Zucker Hillside Hospital
June 8, 2005
Mind-Body Dualism in the Aftermath of War
According to Eisen et al., ten years after the Gulf War, 1.6% of deployed veterans fulfilled criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (1). In a stark display of mind-body dualism, the authors label chronic fatigue syndrome a "medical outcome", "medical illness" and "medical condition" and postpone the presentation of existing psychiatric and neuropsychological data. The authors' bias avoids the confrontation with the complexity of this illness and thus misinforms the reader.
As defined in 1994, chronic fatigue syndrome is a theoretical construct to be used exclusively for the study of etiology and management of patients with persistent tiredness and other unexplainable complaints (2). The construct was not intended for clinical use and its authors were commendably careful to avoid the implication that the chronic fatigue illness is a "medical" disease or "psychiatric" disorder.
The cartesian separation of soul and matter was a courageous manifesto for the independence of science in an era of religious obscurantism. Today, the dualism is counterproductive as it leads to mechanistic oversimplifications inadequate to explain most suffering. It is therefore important to remember that mysteriously ill Gulf veterans have a very high rate of posttraumatic stress (18%) and somatoform (26%) disorders (3). Posttraumatic stress symptoms and unexplainable somatic complaints were strongly correlated with each other (3,4) and with war zone trauma and severity of depression (4). Symptoms consistent with borderline personality were also produced or exagerated by war-related trauma in the Operation Desert Strom (5). These findings demonstrate once again that somatic complaints do not occur or exist in a mind-less vacuum, but that they are generated, modified and maintained by the interplay of pathology, culture and illness behavior.
1. Eisen SA, Kang HK, Murphy FM, et al. Gulf War veterans' health: Medical evaluation of a U.S. Cohort. Ann Intern Med 2005;142:881-90.
2. Fukuda K, Strauss SE, Hickie I, et al. The chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive approach to its definition and study. International Chronic Fatigue Study Group. Ann Intern Med 1994;121:953-9.
3. Labbate LA, Cardena E, Dimitreva J, et al. Psychiatric syndromes in Persian Gulf veterans: an association of handling dead bodies with somatoform disorders. Psychother Psychosom 1998;67:275-9.
4. Ford JD, Campbell KA, Storzbach D, et al. Posttraumatic stress symptomatology is associated with unexplained illness attributed to Persian Gulf military service. Psychosom Med 2001;63:842-9.
5. Axelrod SR, Morgan CA 3rd, Southwick SM. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and borderline personality in veterans of Operation Desert Storm. Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:270-5.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
June 9, 2005
Gulf War Illness: The Gorilla in the Room
Eisen and colleagues described a constellation of illnesses that are more common in veterans who were deployed in the 1991 Gulf War (1). Their discussion, and an accompanying editorial (2), omits discussion of a major potential contributor to the heightened incidence of diseases such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in returned combatants: psychological trauma. Common sense suggests that the horror of war can be at least a partial explanation for such physical symptoms. That similar symptoms were reported in combatants in other wars lends credence to this theory (2). For the benefit of returned combatants, and for victims of other forms of psychological trauma, it will be important to understand the link between the psychological trauma of war and physical symptoms better.
Timothy Lahey, MD Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Lebanon, NH
1. Eisen SA, Kang HK, Murphy FM, et al. Gulf War veterans' health: medical evaluation of a U.S. cohort. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(11):881-90.
2. Komaroff AL. Unexplained suffering in the aftermath of war. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(11):938-9.
Steven R Brenner
Dept. Neurology, Saint Louis Veterans Admin. Med. Center and Dept. Neurology Saint Louis University
June 14, 2005
Parvovirus B19 as cause of Post Gulf War Symptomatology
Gulf war deployment appeared to be associated with an increased risk of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), skin conditions and dyspepsia.
Although CFS and fibromyalgia may be related to a variety of causes, Parvovirus B19 has been associated with development of chronic fatigue syndrome and may have been significant in the Gulf War region during the 1st Gulf War since there was an epidemic of Parvovirus B19 related aplastic crisis in the region, 48 patients being hospitalized at the Saudi Aramco-Dhahrain Health Center between July 1991 and March, 1992 (1).
Military personnel living in close proximity would facilitate respiratory spread of a transmissible virus such as Parvovirus B19 and involvement of the local population would also be expected.
CFS and arthralgia may follow parvovirus B19 infection, five patients out of 51 with acute B19 infection going on to develop Centers for Disease Control criteria for diagnosis of CFS, however there was no characteristic pattern of B19 markers/autoantibodies in patients with B19 associated chronic fatigue, one patient being negative for anti-B19 IgG at followup (2).
CFS can persist for years after human parvovirus B19 infection, and acute B19 infection is accompanied by raised circulating levels of IL-1b, IL-6, TNF-a and IFN-g and raised circulating levels of TNF-a and IFN-g persist and are accompanied by MCP-1 in patients who develop CFS (3). CFS may be caused by a variety of microbial and other triggers, however CFS triggered by B19 virus is clinically indistinguishable from idiopathic CFS and exhibits similar cytokine abnormalities (3).
Parvovirus may also be associated with skin conditions, since it causes erythema infectiosum in the acute infection. An increased prevalence of parvovirus B19 DNA has been found in systemic sclerosis skin (4).
Parvovirus B19 may be considered in development of post Gulf War symptomatology such as CFS. References: 1. A Mullouh, A Qudah. An epidemic of aplastic crisis cause by human parovirsu B19.
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1995; 14: 31-4. 2. J Kerr, J Bracewell, I Laint, et. al. Chronic fatigue syndrome and arthralgia following parvovirus B19 infection. J. Rheumatol 2002; 29: 595- 602. 3. J Kerr, D Tyrrell. Cytokines in parvovirus B19 infection as an aid to understanding chronic fatigue syndrome. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2003; 5: 333-41. 4. T Ohtsuka, S Yamazaki. Increased prevalence of human parvovirus B19 DNA in systemic sclerosis skin. Br J Dermatol 2004; 150: 1091-5.
HÃ´pital ClÃ©menceau- UnitÃ© Infomyalgies
June 29, 2005
Fibromyalgia syndrome/Chronic Fatigue syndrome dualism through War and Peace
In a recent study, Eisen et al.  demonstrate increased prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome [CFS] in deployed 1991 Gulf War veterans (1,6 vs 0,1 % in undeployed or in general population).The authors try to explain the increased risk for CFS, and incidently for dermatologic conditions and dyspepsia in Gulf War syndrome [GWS], without any comment on an other increased prevalence, that of fibromyalgia [FM] : 2 % vs 1,2 %, often considered as a poorly defined CFS-related condition. Some specific comments could have been welcome on : - FM definition, criteria and evaluation [2,3] or mechanisms : some information on bacterial or viral infections and treatments, immunity disorders or influence of toxics in GWS and chronic illness could have been considered even if the same increased prevalence of FM (2-fold) and CFS (10-fold) has been similarly observed in an other population and a quite different situation (women with endometriosis) . - nosology : Fibromyalgia is a defined entity whose diagnosis needs some discriminative and sometimes sophisticated investigations whereas fibromyalgia syndrome [FMS] could indicate variable symptoms and numerous subgroups linked to the fact that fibromyalgia is the usual outcome of several chronic illnesses (evolution from CFS to FM is practically one way). FM or FMS can coexist with other central sensitivity syndromes  such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, dysmenorrhea, restless legs syndrome, temporo-mandibular pain and dysfunction, myofascial pain syndrome, female urethral syndrome... All these neuroendocrine immune dysfunctions share biological abnormalities and pathophysiological mechanisms. However the dualism FMS/CFS is one more time demonstrated with their percentage increases after Gulf war or other events [1,4]. This is supported by several biological findings (ribonucleases abnormalities observed mainly in CFS, coherent increase of cerebrospinal fluid Nerve Growth Factor /Substance P or blood pyruvate/acyl carnitine  in FMS only). The FMS/CFS concept is a comfortable but unclear label that every physician may afford. To use it in absence of occasional co-morbidity would give up fibromyalgia on the Dark Side of the functionnal diseases. Bibliography 1.Eisen SA, Kang HK, Murphy FM, Blanchard MS, Reda DJ, Henderson WG, Toomey R, Jackson LW, Alpern R, Parks BJ, Klimas N, Hall C, Pak HS, Hunter J, Karlinsky J, Battistone MJ, Lyons MJ. Gulf War Veterans' Health: Medical Evaluation of a U.S. Cohort. Annals of Internal Medicine;142(11);881-890, 2005. 2.Yunus MB : fibromyalgia syndrome clinical features and spectrum. Journal of Musculoske Pain;2(3);5-19, 1994. 3.Eisinger J. Evaluation clinique de la fibromyalgie. Rev Med Int;24:237-42, 2003. 4.Sinaii N, Cleary SD, Ballweg ML, Nieman LK, Stratton P. High rates of autoimmune and endocrine disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and atopic diseases among women with endometriosis: a survey analysis. Hum Reprod.;17(10):2715-24, 2002. 5.Eisinger J. Metabolic abnormalities in fibromyalgia. Clinical Bulletin of Myofascial Therapy. 3(1) ; 3-22, 1998.
Infectious Disease, Rheumatology, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia.
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