The Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Approach on the Mechanisms of Gulf War Illness: an Umbrella Review.

Author: Reid KF1, Bannuru RR2, Wang C2, Mori DL3, Niles BL4
Author Information:
1Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.
2Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Division of Rheumatology, Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA. USA.
3VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
4National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Conference/Journal: Integr Med Res.
Date published: 2019 Sep
Other: Volume ID: 8 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 167-172 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2019.05.003. Epub 2019 May 30. , Word Count: 209


Gulf War illness (GWI) is a chronic and multisymptom disorder affecting military veterans deployed to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It is characterized by a range of acute and chronic symptoms, including but not limited to, fatigue, sleep disturbances, psychological problems, cognitive deficits, widespread pain, and respiratory and gastrointestinal difficulties. The prevalence of many of these chronic symptoms affecting Gulf War veterans occur at markedly elevated rates compared to nondeployed contemporary veterans. To date, no effective treatments for GWI have been identified. The overarching goal of this umbrella review was to critically evaluate the evidence for the potential of Tai Chi mind-body exercise to benefit and alleviate GWI symptomology. Based on the most prevalent GWI chronic symptoms and case definitions established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Gulf War Veterans Health Initiative Program, we reviewed and summarized the evidence from 7 published systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Our findings suggest that Tai Chi may have the potential for distinct therapeutic benefits on the major prevalent symptoms of GWI. Future clinical trials are warranted to examine the feasibility, efficacy, durability and potential mechanisms of Tai Chi for improving health outcomes and relieving symptomology in GWI.

KEYWORDS: Gulf War Illness; Mechanisms; Tai Chi.

PMID: 31304089 PMCID: PMC6600798 DOI: 10.1016/j.imr.2019.05.003

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