Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Veterans with Gulf War Illness show brain changes linked to memory deficits

Date:
October 15, 2013
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
New research illuminates definitive brain alterations in troops with Gulf War Illness thought to result from the exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, including sarin gas, during the first Persian Gulf War.

New research illuminates definitive brain alterations in troops with Gulf War Illness (GWI) thought to result from the exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, including sarin gas, during the first Persian Gulf War.

"More than 250,000 troops, or approximately 25% of those deployed during the first Persian Gulf War, have been diagnosed with Gulf War Illness (GWI). Although medical professionals have recognized the chronic and often disabling illness for almost two decades, brain changes that uniquely identify GWI have been elusive until now," explained researcher Bart Rypma, principal investigator at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.

This study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, is novel in that it confirms GWI deficits in working memory, a critical cognitive function that enables short-term retention of information for higher-level thinking ability.

In addition, brain alterations revealed in the study show a consistent pattern representing a neurobiological marker that could potentially be used to positively identify GWI.

The research team assessed three aspects of working memory: accuracy, speed, and efficiency. Results showed that participants with GWI performed significantly slower and less accurately than matched healthy veterans, and their efficiency decreased with increasing task difficulty.

During these difficult conditions, the participants showed relatively lower levels of activity in prefrontal brain regions which may compromise their ability to implement effective, higher-level thinking strategies in cognitively demanding situations.

"Our results revealed that at the root of cognitive issues in GWI patients are profound working memory deficits that correlate with a unique brain change visible in the fMRI scanner. These results support an empirical link between exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, specifically sarin nerve gas, and cognitive deficits and neurobiological changes in the brain," said Rypma. "Implementing interventions that improve working memory could have positive effects on many aspects of daily life from the ability to complete a shopping list, match names with faces, all the way to elevating mood."

"Difficulty remembering has been the most common, unexplained impairment resulting from service in the 1991 Persian Gulf War," said Robert Haley, co-investigator and Chief of Epidemiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "This functional MRI study provides the first objective evidence showing the exact malfunctions in the brain's memory circuits that underlie these chemically induced memory problems."

The new findings may also have implications for the treatment of several disorders involving similar neural systems, including one Alzheimer's disease.

"Both GWI and Alzheimer's disease result in profound cognitive impairment and share similar neurochemical underpinnings," explained the study's lead author Nicholas Hubbard. "The distinct neural markers associated with cognitive performance and GWI revealed in our study can be useful for future research to objectively measure the efficacy of treatments for GWI as well as other brain disorders related to the same neurotransmitter system, like Alzheimer's disease."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. A. Hubbard, J. L. Hutchison, M. A. Motes, E. Shokri-Kojori, I. J. Bennett, R. M. Brigante, R. W. Haley, B. Rypma. Central Executive Dysfunction and Deferred Prefrontal Processing in Veterans With Gulf War Illness. Clinical Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/2167702613506580

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Veterans with Gulf War Illness show brain changes linked to memory deficits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015191409.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2013, October 15). Veterans with Gulf War Illness show brain changes linked to memory deficits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015191409.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Veterans with Gulf War Illness show brain changes linked to memory deficits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015191409.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins