Gulf War Syndrome

Discussion in 'Charities and Welfare' started by Joanie, Aug 4, 2008.

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  1. Research study into Gulf War Syndrome – recruiting now!

    I am carrying out independent research into Gulf War Syndrome. An ex-serviceman is funding the work. No funding is coming from government sources.

    Title: Cognitive functioning in Gulf War Syndrome.

    Cognitive dysfunction is both distressing and disabling. Examples of this include impaired concentration and short term memory, disorientation, difficulty with information processing and word retrieval. Many clinicians have limited knowledge about the nature of these symptoms and so may have difficulty in helping Gulf War Syndrome sufferers. It is hoped that this research will assist medical professionals treating Gulf War Syndrome.

    This study aims to add to the limited published literature about this in Gulf War Syndrome. I am comparing cognitive functioning in Gulf War Syndrome with healthy controls. It is hoped that by doing this research the nature of the dysfunction experienced will be better understood.

    I'm looking for 15 veterans, minimum, with Gulf War Syndrome to take part in this research.

    The study will involve completing straightforward and well used cognitive tasks and will take approx. 2 hours. I can travel to participants or they can travel to see me in Chester. I am recruiting for this study from July 2008.

    Should you wish to participate in this study please contact Joan Crawford on joan.crawford "at" or {Telephone number removed by Mod for reasons of safety}.

    Joan Crawford
  2. Isn't 15 a very small cross section considering that those who volunteer are more likely to be from the group that think there is something wrong with them? All for research, but I'd rather it was done on a scientific basis than one that looks as if it is going out to find something.

    Larger sample of Gulf Veterans and chose them at random, not ask for volunteers which automatically turns the results towards those who think they are suffering. Twenty years on, won't most people, Gulf Veterans or not, be suffering from some of these symptoms?
  3. Hi Plant Pilot,

    You wrote - “those who volunteer are more likely to be from the group that think there is something wrong with them?” As of 2004/2005 both the MOD and the US DoD accept that “a substantial proportion of Gulf War veterans are ill with multisymptom conditions not explained by wartime stress or psychiatric illness” (Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses, 2004, p.2). No credible scientist is any longer questioning the fact that these veterans are ill.

    You wrote - “not ask for volunteers”. All participants in medical research are volunteers. To do anything else would be unethical.

    You wrote - “Isn't 15 a very small cross section” “I'd rather it was done on a scientific basis.”
    The number of participants I am seeking is a minimum of 15. This is an adequate sample size to achieve a high enough power and effect size should the null hypothesis be false. Each participant will not be selected because they tell me they have GWS. Research does not work like that. I am using a peer reviewed, internationally recognised criteria that the veterans have to exceed before inclusion in the study. They have to meet the criteria AND be severely affected before they will be included. There are also strict exclusion criteria. This process takes well over an hour, with each potential participant, before a decision is made as to whether they can take part in this study or not. Then and only then do the participants take part in the neurocognitive testing which takes approx. 3-4 hours per participant. The method for this research has passed both peer review and ethical approval. Bearing in mind the resources available there is nothing unscientific about this. Scientific statistical methods are more robust than your statement implies.

    You wrote - “those who think they are suffering” - (from GWS). If you were to speak at any length with anyone of the 5,000 or so ill gulf war veterans with GWS you would quickly realise that this statement is profoundly insulting. If you have spoken to anyone with GWS you clearly were not listening.

    You wrote - “Twenty years on, won't most people, Gulf Veterans or not, be suffering from some of these symptoms?” A single symptom or even a few do not meet the definition of GWS. Many people may be suffering some of the symptoms of GWS, but no one would suggest they had GWS and they certainly would fail the inclusion criteria for this research.

    From what you wrote you’ve not kept up with the research.

  4. 15 certainlty is is not a large enough sample size to prove or disprove anything, and certainly not to find any statistically valid differences from norms that anyone is going to be comfortable with. Most psychological research projects use sample sizes of 60-100. Medical research is full of 'conclusions' and 'findings' based on sample sizes like this and they are all fundamentally meaningless. Whilst I'm sure the tests you will use are the standard ones this does not necessarily mean that the results will really show anything.

    I would also take issue with your statements generally about GWS because you are making the assumption that it is a single condition. The view from the RAC is one view but there are others and some evidence that shows that the symptoms of GWS are also just as prevalent in people who did not serve in that conflict. This is not yet an accepted 'disease' in terms of ICD 10. Currently there's nothing to 'treat', just a confusing set of symptoms that don't make sense when put together as a single illness.

    There is evidence that supports GWS as a condition but there is at least as much that does not and for valid reasons.

    You wrote - “those who think they are suffering” - (from GWS). If you were to speak at any length with anyone of the 5,000 or so ill gulf war veterans with GWS you would quickly realise that this statement is profoundly insulting. If you have spoken to anyone with GWS you clearly were not listening.

    Your remark about qurying the method being 'insulting' is plain emotive and has no place in a scientific piece of work as it is clear that you are looking for results to prove your case, rather than looking for the evidence to shape your view.

    The assertion that they 'think' they are suffering as made by Plant Pilot is entirely correct. Scientifically and medically you cannot say that there are 5000 GWS sufferers as GWS does not formally exist. People suffering from symptoms that they think may be GWS is a more correct way of descibing this.

    I'm not quite sure what your research is going to show. Even where you do find cognitive deficit it's not helpful because how can you possibly show that these deficits are due to service in the Gulf? You can't, and therein lies the problem. Cognitive deficits can be due to all manner of disease processes/substance misuse/ageing and unless you are able to exclude all of these you've proved nothing. If all your volunteers do have deficts and all controls don't all you've shown is that your volunteers have deficits with no way of attributing them to anything. This doesn't advance the canon of research at all.

    I know full well that there are many people who are suffering with a wide variety of conditions (one of the major problems with GWS, the symptoms are so diverse) but this does not make your research any more valid or meaningful in what is a very unclear and by no means certain area of medicine.

    Just for the record, I'm a GWS agnostic. If someone proves to me that it exists I'll be quite happy. No-one has yet done so when all the research is considered.
  5. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Like you psychobabble I'm uncomfortable with this. Especially the remark to Plant Pilot that he is 'insulting' people who suffer from GWS. Joan knows nothing of Plant Pilot, for all she know he may have symptoms and to assume that if he doesn't he won't know anyone who does shows a serve lack of knowledge of the service/ex-service community.
  6. GWS suffers are very ill – fact. No credible researcher or clinician disputes this.

    The causes of GWS are unknown at this time. Only research will find answers.

    No research = no answers.

  7. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    But whether or not you are the person to conduct the research with your attitude is another matter.
  8. Nobody is doubting that there are people who are suffering from a wide variety of dibilitating conditions after their service in the Gulf War. However there is evidence both ways as to whether these conditions are statistically higher within those groups who went and those who didn't. There is no clear cut condition called GWS.

    The causes of GWS are unknown because as a diagnosis, GWS DOES NOT EXIST! The symptoms clearly do exist and my previous comment takes nothing away from that, but what causes them is very unclear, and may well not be to do with military service at all. The balance of proof has yet to be established.

    I would have less problems with your 'research proposal' if you were looking at psychological input for cognitive deficits and calling it that. It's your focus on an illness that does not exist in a diagnostic sense that I find troubling. You need to be much more rigorous in your definitions and a journal wouldn't touch your proposal as it stands. I have no problem with you looking at new ways of treating symptoms ( as opposed to an 'illness'), which is surely what is important here, not a diagnosis to conveniently label people with.

    There has been an awful lot of research into the symptoms suffered by Gulf War veterans and I cannot for the life of me see how yours will add anything at all. All you can show is that they have cognitive deficit. You won't be in a position to say definitively that it is Gulf War Syndrome from your tests as there can be no diagnostic tests for something that doesn't exist diagnostically.

    EDIT: Also how can you set criteria to measure participants in terms of whether they have GWS or not when there can be no clinical indicators for a condition that has no definition?
  10. I'm just a humble technician but even I can see that your answer to plant_pilot, psychobabble and old baldy is woefully inadequate. Why not assume that they are inteligent people and engage with their points?
  11. Joan:

    I think the best plan for right now is to write to the owners of the site at: admin @ and give them all of your credentials and allow them to check the veracity of your claims that you are the researcher you claim to be. Once that is done, they can let the membership know that you are a legitimate researcher and if they wish, they can contact you knowing that.

    I also think that included in your correspondence with the owners you should also include your Ethics Committee's approval as well as who is going to supervise/oversee your clinical work. You might also want to include your academic background as well as a sample of any current research you have completed along with a list of your publications.

    You should also include evidence of your O&E insurance as well as any membership with a regulatory body. Samples of your confidentiality agreements with your subjects should also be provided.

    Finally, you should be very clear who will be the target audience of your research and copyright/publishing agreements.

    You also might want to ask the owners to have a moderator move your request once your credentials have been established to the proper forum where your might reach a larger audience.

    Oh and do yourself a favour and remove your telephone number off your post. There are thousands of visitors to this site every day, some may show a tendency to misuse the info in a negative manner. (which leads me to wonder if your inability to foresee that sets the same standard to which you do your research)
  13. Mmm..Alvin judging by your only 2 posts (both on this thread) and your very recent membership to this site, I doubt very much anybody will take your claims seriously.

    I have to agree with those above though, I have several conditions which doctors are unable to diagnose, mostly myopathy problems, when I mentioned GWS to them, I was literally laughed out of the hospital as there is no evidence that this exists.
  14. Interesting Alvin
    Are you Joanie's alter ego (or perhaps Ms Chubb)? ... suggest you re-read the posts from psychobabble, niner_domestic et al.

    BTW - time to turn off your CAPS LOCK
  15. ROCKAPE 34, ........... WHO IS MS CHUBB ?