The study included extensive interviews and examinations of "159 Gulf War-deployed preventative medicine personnel who had varying levels of pesticide exposures during their work as pesticide applicators or other preventative medicine roles".
According to the study's publication, "Study results showed that the participants with both high pesticide and high [Nerve Agent Protective Pill (PB)] exposure performed worse on specific measures than the groups with high single exposures or low exposures to both toxicants."
Study results showed that "high combined exposure was associated with significantly slower information processing reaction times, attentional errors, worse visual memory functioning, and increased mood complaints. In addition, ... analyses of individual pesticide exposures found that pest strip exposure was associated with slower reaction times and attentional errors, and that fly bait and delouser exposures predicted greater mood complaints."
The chemicals involved affect brain chemistry and, "are known to produce chronic health and cognitive symptoms at sufficient exposure levels," according to earlier research cited in the study. The chemical warfare nerve agents Sarin and Cyclosarin -- acknowledged to have been released at the Khamisiyah munitions depot demolitions immediately following the war's ceasefire -- are in the same class of chemicals (Organophosphates, or OP's) as some of the pesticides analyzed in this study.
This extensive, multi-year research project was funded by a Fiscal Year 2006 grant from the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP), part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) funded by Congress within the Defense health program.
The study's principal investigator was Dr. Kimberly Sullivan of the Department of Environmental Health with the Boston University School of Public Health.
Dr. Sullivan currently leads a major Gulf War Illness treatment development Consortium, which is also funded by the CDMRP. This treatment development study is currently recruiting both healthy Gulf War veterans and those with Gulf War Illness at its study sites in Boston, Miami, and Houston.
More information about the ongoing Gulf War Illness treatment development study is available at: http://sites.bu.edu/gwic .