Home Family Practice Damage to Mitochondrial DNA May Explain Gulf War Illness

Damage to Mitochondrial DNA May Explain Gulf War Illness

Exposure to chemicals could be cause of unexplained fatigue and pain among Gulf War veterans

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Unexplained chronic fatigue, muscle pain, and cognitive dysfunction are experienced by a quarter of Gulf War veterans, and new research suggests exposure to DNA-damaging chemicals may cause this condition, known as Gulf War Illness (GWI).

Researchers analyzed blood samples to measure the amount of mitochondrial DNA and degree of damage to this DNA among veterans with GWI.

The veterans not only had more mitochondrial DNA, but also more mitochondrial DNA damage than otherwise healthy adults, the researchers found.

Study author Yang Chen, a doctoral researcher at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences in New Jersey, presented the findings at a recent meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS) in Tampa, Fla. “Future studies are necessary to confirm these findings and determine their association with mitochondrial function,” the study’s authors said in an APS news release. “Work in this area may guide new diagnostic testing and treatments for veterans suffering from GWI.”

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