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Am J Prev Med. 2004 Jun;26(5):443-52.

After more than 10 years of Gulf War veteran medical evaluations, what have we learned?

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Since the 1991 Gulf War, more than 10 years and 1 billion dollars of health evaluations and research have been invested in understanding illnesses among Gulf War veterans. We examined the extensive published healthcare utilization data in an effort to summarize what has been learned. Using multiple search techniques, data as of June 2003 from four different national Gulf War health registries and numerous hospitalization and ambulatory care reports were reviewed. Thus far, published reports have not revealed a unique Gulf War syndrome nor identified specific exposures that might explain postwar morbidity. Instead, they have demonstrated that Gulf War veterans have had an increase in multi-symptom condition, injury, and mental health diagnoses. While these diagnoses are similar to those experienced by other comparable military populations, their explanation is not fully understood. New strategies to identify risk factors for, and to reduce, such postdeployment conditions are summarized.

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