Vestibular dysfunction in Gulf War syndrome

Peter S. Roland, Robert W. Haley, Mary W Yellin, Kris Owens, Angela G. Shoup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


METHODS: Vestibular complaints of Gulf War veterans were characterized by a nested case-control study of 23 veterans with 3 different Gulf War syndromes and 20 matched control subjects. All subjects completed a standardized symptom questionnaire and underwent standard audiovestibular tests administered by audiologists blinded to group identities. RESULTS: The prevalence of reported dizzy spells was higher in veterans with Gulf War syndromes 1 (100%), 2 (85%), and 3 (100%) than in controls (25%, P < 0.0001). Dizzy spells were more frequent, lasted longer, and involved a wider variety of accompanying symptoms in veterans with syndrome 2 than in those with syndromes 1 and 3. Audiovestibular testing showed greater interocular asymmetry of nystagmic velocity on sinusoidal harmonic acceleration in syndromes 1 (P= 0.015) and 2 (P= 0.002), greater asymmetry of saccadic velocity in syndrome 2 (P = 0.4), diminished nystagmic velocity after caloric stimulation bilaterally in syndrome 3 (P =0.02 to 0.04), more subjects with pathologic nystagmus (P = 0.09), and greater interside asymmetry of wave I to III interpeak latency on auditory brain stem response in syndromes 1 (P = 0.005) and 2 (P = 0.07). Asymmetry of gain on sinusoidal harmonic acceleration and pathologic nystagmus were most strongly associated with symptoms of paroxysmal vertigo (P = 0.002 and 0.07, respectively); asymmetry of saccadic velocity, with the severity of vertigo (P = 0.004); and abnormal caloric response, with chronic dysequilibrium (P = 0.006). CONCLUSIONS: The findings are compatible with a subtle neurologic injury from organophosphate- induced delayed neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-329
Number of pages11
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this

Roland, P. S., Haley, R. W., Yellin, M. W., Owens, K., & Shoup, A. G. (2000). Vestibular dysfunction in Gulf War syndrome. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 122(3), 319-329.