Multiple Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Associated with Increased Rates of Health Symptoms and Gulf War Illness in a Cohort of 1990-1991 Gulf War Veterans.

Academic Article


  • Recent research demonstrated a relation between traumatic brain injury (TBI), health symptoms and diagnosis of Gulf War Illness (GWI) in Gulf War Veterans, but no study has examined the impact of multiple mild TBIs (mTBIs). A total of 229 male Gulf War Veterans from the Ft Devens Cohort were categorized by a number of mTBIs reported. One-way ANOVA and chi-square test of independence were used to test for differences in total reported health symptoms and diagnosis of chronic multisymptom illness (CMI) or Kansas GWI criteria, two of the most common case definitions of GWI. A total of 72 veterans reported no mTBIs (31.4%), 26 reported one mTBI (11.4%), 25 reported two mTBIs (10.9%), and 106 veterans reported sustaining three or more mTBIs (46.3%). Veterans reporting two or more mTBIs (p < 0.01) or three or more mTBIs (p < 0.001) endorsed significantly higher rates of health symptoms than Veterans reporting no mTBIs. Significantly higher rates of CMI (p = 0.035) and Kansas GWI criteria (p < 0.001) were seen in the three or more mTBI group. Results suggest two mTBIs increase risk of health symptoms, but three mTBIs may be the threshold needed to sustain chronic symptom reporting needed for a formal diagnosis. These findings highlight the importance of implementing policies and procedures monitoring head injuries in military personnel.
  • Authors

  • Yee, Megan K
  • Janulewicz, Patricia A
  • Seichepine, Daniel
  • Sullivan, Kimberly A
  • Proctor, Susan P
  • Krengel, Maxine H
  • Publication Date

  • July 9, 2017
  • Published In

  • Brain Sciences  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Gulf War
  • Gulf War Illness (GWI)
  • chronic multisymptom illness
  • mild traumatic brain injury
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 79
  • End Page

  • 79
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 7