Treating Veterans of Gulf War Illness
Steve Adubato goes on-location to Kessler Foundation’s “Rebuilding Futures for our Nation’s Heroes” event to talk with Glenn Wylie, Director, Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center, Kessler Foundation and Associate Research Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Wylie discusses his research in cognitive fatigue in Gulf War veterans and how he is working to find better ways to treat veterans of Gulf War Illness.
"We're with doctor Glenn Wylie, who is part of the discussion tonight at Kessler Foundation, talking about helping veterans, the research that you and your colleagues are doing to help veterans, particularly employment, quality of life issues... You're involved, doctor, with neuroimaging technology. What is that? So that's technology that we use to look at where activation happens in your brain while you're performing tasks. So we use a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner... A what? A functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, or FMRI. And we have people in the scanner, and they do tasks while they're in there, and we can see where in their brain activation is happening while they're doing the tasks. By the way, I've worked with Doctor Wylie and some of his colleagues, trying to talk about how challenging it is to communicate certain very... I don't want to say technical, but clinical terms to the average person. So as we break this down, it's going to be interesting. Let me try this. You and your colleagues are very involved in research regarding, quote, "Gulf War Illness". Doctor, what is that? So Gulf War Illness is also called Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness. And it's a consultation of symptoms that include fatigue, and pain, and cognitive issues. So let me give you an example. We had a subject come in a couple days ago, and he was a veteran, and he'd gone to the Gulf back in the early 90's, and soon he returned, he started to experience widespread pain in his muscles and joints, and fatigue. Both physical fatigue and mental fatigue. So physical fatigue is like, you know, the fatigue you feel when you run a marathon or do something physically strenuous. And mental fatigue is the fatigue you feel after you do your taxes, or something mentally strenuous. And you and I experience these kinds of fatigue when we do something kind of big like run a marathon, he was feeling this kind of fatigue all the time, every day. And you can imagine that had a really big impact on his quality... Actually, you said you can imagine. I actually can't imagine. So help folks understand... so what would that veteran be dealing with in terms of his or her ability to have any real quality of life and potentially be gainfully employed? Exactly, yeah. I mean, it has a real impact on your ability to work, because he was just exhausted all the time, every day. And he would go to bed tired, and wake up..."