Improvements in Gulf War Illness Symptoms After Near-Infrared Transcranial and Intranasal Photobiomodulation: Two Case Reports

Mil Med. 2019 Oct 1;184(9-10):e568-e574. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usz037.


At least one-fourth of US veterans who served in the 1990-1991 Gulf War (GW) are affected by the chronic symptomatic illness known as Gulf War illness (GWI). This condition typically includes some combination of fatigue, headaches, cognitive dysfunction, musculoskeletal pain, and respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermatologic complaints. To date, effective treatments for GWI have been elusive. Photobiomodulation (PBM) describes the non-pharmacological, non-thermal use of light to stimulate, heal, and protect tissue that has either been injured, is degenerating, or else is at risk of dying. Significant benefits have been reported following application of transcranial PBM to humans with acute stoke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and dementia. This report describes the first documentation of improved GWI symptoms in two GW veterans following 12 weeks of PBM treatments.

Keywords: Chronic Multisymptom Illness; Gulf War Illness; Gulf War Veterans; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infrared Rays
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / standards*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / complications
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / therapy*
  • Syndrome*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / organization & administration
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / statistics & numerical data
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data