Monday, November 2, 2009

Study Finds Subtle Declines in Motor Speed, Sustained Attention in Gulf War Veterans

Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes

(Washington, DC - November 2, 2009) - In a public presentation today before the federal Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses by Dr. Rosemary Toomey, science has found that Gulf War deployment is associated with subtle declines of motor speed and sustained attention.  The evidence further suggested that the toxicant exposures influence these functions, and that symptoms of depression also influence attention.

Shortly after the end of the 1991 Gulf War, many U.S. Gulf War veterans reported cognitive issues that they believed to be related to their Gulf War service.  The cognitive issues could not be related to physical brain injury or known disease processes.

The study found scientific evidence that 1991 Gulf War toxicant exposures led to impaired motor speed and deficits in sustained attention.

The presentation, entitled, "Neuropsychological functioning in the VA National Health Survey of Gulf War Veterans," included the results of the National Health Survey of Gulf War veterans and their families, which was coordinated through Chicago's Hines VA Medical Center. 

Khamisiyah exposure was also found to be related to decreased motor speed.

It was noted that self-reported exposure variables did not explain the symptoms. 

Toomey is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Harvard Medical School Department Psychiatry, and an active researcher with the Psychology Department at Boston University, the Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, and the Boston VA Medical Center Research Service. 

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