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Brain circuits uniquely disrupted in Gulf War syndrome – health – 21 March 2013 – New Scientist

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To that end, Baraniuk and colleague Rakib Rayhan examined 31 veterans with Gulf War Syndrome, [and] scanned their brains using a technique called diffusion tensor imaging, which highlights the bundles of nerves, or white matter, connecting brain regions. They compared these to scans of 20 veterans who were not deployed in the Gulf.

The images indicate that in Gulf War Syndrome, these nerve bundles break down and may have trouble forming connections: a phenomenon that has not been associated with any other illness. This suggests that the brain circuitry, rather than any specific brain area, is disrupted in people with the condition. Veterans with the worst symptoms tended to have the most pronounced abnormalities in their white matter.

The damaged areas tended to be in fibres that connect pain-registering nerves to higher brain centres responsible for interpreting pain. Another affected area was the ventral attention network, which allows people to break their concentration to respond to a stimulus. This fits with the affected veterans’ tendency to be easily distracted and to have trouble with memory formation.

via Brain circuits uniquely disrupted in Gulf War syndrome – health – 21 March 2013 – New Scientist.

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