Epidemiology Gulf War Syndrome This Term Paper

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In some mammals with this capability, an unfertilized egg may begin developing into an embryo or the development can just stop. Investigators even suspected that the difficulties experienced by teams in mammal-cloning experiments were due to the absence of RNAs in the sperm. In cloning, scientists would take the DNA from a non-germ cell, add it to an egg denuded of its DNA and trick it into developing as though it were fertilized by a sperm. The procedure would work only a few times. Most of the time, it would develop gross defects, which often delayed further development. John Eppig, a reproductive biologist at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, suggested that the success of cloning was a strong argument against the supposed key biological role of apparently large numbers of RNAs being delivered by the sperm (Travis).

It has been estimated that infertility occurs in 2 million couples in the United States (American Family Physician 1993). About a third of these are attributed to male factors, including primary testicular failure, secondary testicular failure and post-testicular obstruction.

Greendale and his colleagues conducted a study on the possibility of Chlamydia trachomatis as another cause of unexplained infertility. In the study, the team utilized 52 men who were diagnosed with explicitly defined idiopathic infertility and were enrolled in two infertility practices as one group. The other group consisted of 79 men who were enrolled in prenatal classes their partners. Those couples who had unprotected intercourse were placed in a group, which was subjected to two semen analyses. These respondents were not hypogonadal or azoospermic and their partners had idiopathic primary or secondary infertility. When their serum IgG anti-Chlamydia antibodies were measured, infertile men were found to be 3.4 times more likely than fertile men to have a higher titer. About 50% of patients in both groups with anti-Chlamydia antibody titers of 1:64 or higher had no symptoms of infection. Among asymptomatic patients, 20% exhibited abnormal penile discharge, 205 with non-traumatic testicular swelling or pain, and 40% with dysuria. However, these findings by Greenpeace and his team were later found to be inconclusive (American Family Physician).

Pain Syndrome

Researchers at Mayo Clinic announced that those who suffer from fibromyalgia could be helped by acupuncture (Health News 2006). Their study on 50 patients who suffered from symptoms like fatigue and anxiety found that they obtained relief from the method. The added advantage was that acupuncture has few side effects. The results of its experiments led Mayo Clinic to speculate that this ancient therapy might possess benefits. Previous researches suggested that acupuncture possibly stimulates pain-killing substances in the body or alters brain chemistry. This, in turn, affects areas of the central nervous system involved in pain sensation and other involuntary functions (Health News).

Data from a large German research effort offered support for the use of acupuncture in treating chronic pain conditions (Walsh 2005). The study was sponsored by the country's insurance companies. The data derived from two reports from the Acupuncture in Routine Care study, which were presented during a symposium on alternative and complementary therapies, and sponsored by the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth. The reports presented and demonstrated statistically significant and clinically relevant benefits of acupuncture when used in addition to routine care for headache and neck pain. It utilized 15,056 patients with migraine or tension-type of headaches. They were allocated up to 15 acupuncture treatments at random during a three-month period in combination with conventional treatment by analgesics. A control group was also used, which received conventional treatment only. A third group consisted of patients who did not agree to random acupuncture treatment was also used and monitored. About 75% of them were female with 44 years as the mean age. In the group, 3,182 agreed to randomization, 1,613 were in the acupuncture group, and 1,569 in the control group. After the three months of treatment, the volunteers reported that the frequency of their headache days per month had decreased. The incidence went down significantly from 8.4 days to 4.7 days in the acupuncture groups, greater than the reduced level in the control group. Headache types were also recorded. Those with migraine had an average of 7 days per month of the episodes before treatment and four days per month after treatment, which included acupuncture. Those with tension headaches also decreased from an average of 10 days per month to only 5 days per month (Health News).

The tabulated improvements persisted in the succeeding three months (Health News 2006). In the control group, 70% of the patients needed complementary treatment with analgesics, as compared with 50% of those in acupuncture groups. This was the finding of the first report. The second report on the study of the effect of acupuncture on neck pain provided similar results. It utilized 13,846 patients with chronic neck pain. In this group, 68% wee women with a mean age of 53. Of this number, 1,753 were given randomized acupuncture treatment; 1,698 were in the control group; and 10,395 declined randomization but also received acupuncture. After three months of treatment, the patients reported improvements on their neck pain disability. These improvements were more pronounced in the acupuncture groups than in the control group, according to Claudia Becker-Witt. Scores went down from 56.4 to 39.6 in the acupuncture groups and from 54.5 to 51.2 in the control groups. Both reductions were considered statistically significant differences. Both studies also reported that the respondent-patients experienced significantly greater improvements in their quality of life. While the 8-9% of the patients in both studies reported experiencing side effects from acupuncture, these were not considered life-threatening (Walsh).

Other published studies on the effect of acupuncture on patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain found that it improved their conditions (Health News 2006). This ancient Chinese medicine makes use of the energy, called chi, which flows along the channels of the body, called meridians. Pain and illness are believed to develop with an imbalance or disruption of the chi. Classic acupuncture involves the insertion and maneuvering of hair-thin needles at 1,000 acu-points on the 12 major meridians to restore the balance of the chi. Western practitioners say that acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins to dull the perception of the pain and stimulates the spinal cord to release pain-suppressing neurotransmitters (Health News).

The practitioner first asks about the patient's medical history and pain symptoms (Health News 2006). Then he feels the patient's pain spots. A typical treatment involves 30-35 needles inserted shallowly on the skin, fascia and muscle. The usual frontal treatment requires 20 to 25 needles. These needles are kept in place for 15 to 20 minutes. A session usually lasts an hour. Most people feel relaxed during and after treatment. The common regimen consists of five weekly sessions and a follow-up a month later, if maintenance appears needed. If no improvement occurs, the patient is advised to seek out other treatment options (Health News).

Review of Methods

Studies on the Gulf War syndrome used the spectral analysis method and the factor analysis method. Spectral analysis focused on the changes in function of the parasympathetic nervous system, mainly sleep. The factor analysis method derived from the symptoms of the syndrome.

Studies on male infertility utilized a method, which relied on microarrays, which, in turn, traced the presence of RNAs in the sperm cell. The absence of RNAs, those researchers suggested, could explain male infertility. Another study suggested that infection with Chlamydia trachomatis could be a cause of the condition.

Mayo Clinic's study supported the effectiveness of acupuncture in managing headaches and chronic neck pain in a substantial number of patients. The method consisted of a three-month treatment of acupuncture with conventional analgesics on three different groups. They mostly reported experiencing reduction of their painful conditions.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the 12 body meridians to balance the flow of energy, called chi. The imbalance or disruption of the chi leads to illness. Acupuncture restores that balance by triggering the release of natural painkillers and stimulating the release of pain-suppressing neurotransmitters. The practitioner conducts some diagnosis before inserting the needles. These needles are kept in place for a few minutes. Treatment is often for an hour every week for a few weeks. The practitioner advises the patient to seek other treatment options if no improvement results.


The two methods used by epidemiological studies on the Gulf War syndrome on the dysfunction of the parasympathetic nervous system and the signs of physical and emotional disturbance were not contradictory. Rather, they were complementary and should be considered thus. The absence or lack of RNAs, as determined by the microarrays method, can be a breakthrough in establishing the cause of male infertility. Infection by Chlamydial trachomatis through semen analysis was regarded as inconclusive. And the value of acupuncture as an adjunct to conventional pain management has been significantly proven by the study undertaken by Mayo Clinic on a substantial group of volunteer-patients. All other studies…

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