In the midst of the ongoing brutal war on Gaza, it’s challenging to shift our focus from the grim realities of war. Therefore, this week, we’ll explore Gulf War Syndrome from various perspectives. We’ll examine the details of Gulf War Syndrome, investigating various aspects that go beyond the immediate chaos of conflict.
Join us on this journey into a topic that extends beyond the world of war, unveiling the lesser-known aspects of Gulf War Syndrome (additional information about this syndrome can be found in my earlier article, “War’s hidden wounds: Unseen battle scars,” published on 7th/Nov/2023).
In a 2011 study, Professor Stephen Atkin and his team at Hull York Medical School in the UK investigated male veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome (GWS).
GWS is known for symptoms like musculoskeletal pain, skin issues, headaches, memory loss and sleep problems.
The study revealed a high percentage of patients with hormone deficiencies linked to pituitary hypophysitis, a condition impacting hormone production in the body. Treatment with hormonal replacement therapy led to a significant improvement in health questionnaire scores.
It’s worth noting that Prof Atkin, who conducted this study, is currently serving as the Head of School of Postgraduate Studies and Research at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – Medical University of Bahrain.
In another noteworthy discovery in 2020, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital identified widespread inflammation in the brains of veterans diagnosed with GWS.
Published in the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity, this revelation could shape the development of new therapies for GWS and other conditions associated with neuroinflammation.
Approximately 30 per cent of Gulf War veterans from 1991 suffer from GWS, encountering symptoms like fatigue, chronic pain and cognitive issues.
The study, spearheaded by Marco Loggia, PhD, disclosed extensive neuroinflammation in the brains of GWS-afflicted veterans, particularly in areas linked to higher-order functions such as memory and concentration.
This finding may prompt further investigation into neuroinflammation as a therapeutic target for various conditions, including chronic pain, depression, anxiety and more. Our look into Gulf War Syndrome highlights an important truth – violence has lasting consequences.
Even in chaos, it’s a reminder that those causing harm won’t go unaffected. Beyond the current conflict, these actions create unseen scars, stressing how war deeply impacts people and societies.
Our prayers have been, are, and will forever be with Palestine and Gaza.
The author is a postdoctoral researcher at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland