Exercise, Therapy May Help Relieve Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses

Published Online: Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Regular exercise and group therapy can alleviate symptoms of Gulf War veterans? illnesses, according to findings reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in October 2002. A total of 1092 veterans were randomized to receive 3 months of standard care, low-impact exercise 3 to 4 times a week, weekly group sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or both exercise and CBT.

After 1 year, the exercise-alone and the exercise-plus-CBT groups showed highly significant improvements in fatigue, distress, mental health function, and the ability to think and understand. Participants in the CBT-alone group showed improvements in mental health function and the ability to think and understand.

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