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Brain Sci. 2017, 7(7), 79; doi:10.3390/brainsci7070079

Multiple Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Associated with Increased Rates of Health Symptoms and Gulf War Illness in a Cohort of 1990–1991 Gulf War Veterans

1
Boston VA Research Institute, Inc., Boston, MA 02130, USA
2
Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA 02118, USA
3
Neuropsychology Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Manchester, Manchester, NH 03101, USA
4
U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Military Performance Division, Natick, MA 01760, USA
5
VA Boston Healthcare System, Research Service, Boston, MA 02130, USA
6
Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: James M. Gurley and Brian D. Greenwald
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 9 July 2017
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Abstract

Recent research demonstrated a relation between traumatic brain injury (TBI), health symptoms and diagnosis of Gulf War Illness (GWI) in Gulf War Veterans, but no study has examined the impact of multiple mild TBIs (mTBIs). A total of 229 male Gulf War Veterans from the Ft Devens Cohort were categorized by a number of mTBIs reported. One-way ANOVA and chi-square test of independence were used to test for differences in total reported health symptoms and diagnosis of chronic multisymptom illness (CMI) or Kansas GWI criteria, two of the most common case definitions of GWI. A total of 72 veterans reported no mTBIs (31.4%), 26 reported one mTBI (11.4%), 25 reported two mTBIs (10.9%), and 106 veterans reported sustaining three or more mTBIs (46.3%). Veterans reporting two or more mTBIs (p < 0.01) or three or more mTBIs (p < 0.001) endorsed significantly higher rates of health symptoms than Veterans reporting no mTBIs. Significantly higher rates of CMI (p = 0.035) and Kansas GWI criteria (p < 0.001) were seen in the three or more mTBI group. Results suggest two mTBIs increase risk of health symptoms, but three mTBIs may be the threshold needed to sustain chronic symptom reporting needed for a formal diagnosis. These findings highlight the importance of implementing policies and procedures monitoring head injuries in military personnel. View Full-Text
Keywords: mild traumatic brain injury; Gulf War Illness (GWI); chronic multisymptom illness; Gulf War mild traumatic brain injury; Gulf War Illness (GWI); chronic multisymptom illness; Gulf War
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yee, M.K.; Janulewicz, P.A.; Seichepine, D.R.; Sullivan, K.A.; Proctor, S.P.; Krengel, M.H. Multiple Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Associated with Increased Rates of Health Symptoms and Gulf War Illness in a Cohort of 1990–1991 Gulf War Veterans. Brain Sci. 2017, 7, 79.

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