Cognitive functioning in Gulf War Illness

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2001 Apr;23(2):240-9. doi: 10.1076/jcen.


A comprehensive neuropsychological battery was administered to 48 veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI) characterized by severe fatigue (GV-F) and 39 healthy veterans (GV-H). Subjects were matched on intelligence and did not differ on age, gender, race, and alcohol consumption. Compared to GVs-H, GVs-F were significantly impaired on four tasks: three attention, concentration, information processing tasks and one measure of abstraction and conceptualization. After considering the presence of post-war Axis I psychopathology, GWI remained a significant predictor of cognitive performance on one of the attention, concentration, and information processing tasks and one abstraction and conceptualization measure. Performance on the remaining two attention, concentration, and information processing tasks was only significantly predicted by Axis I psychopathology with post-war onset. The results suggest that Gulf War Illness is associated with some aspects of cognitive dysfunction in Gulf Veterans, over and above the contribution of psychopathology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / etiology
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / complications
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / psychology*