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Factor analysis of Gulf War illness: what does it add to our understanding of possible health effects of deployment?
Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Sep 15; 156(6):578-85.AJ

Abstract

The authors conducted factor analysis on survey data from 1,779 Persian Gulf War veterans. Their purposes were to: 1) determine whether factor analysis identified a unique "Gulf War syndrome" among veterans potentially exposed to chemical warfare agents; 2) compare the findings of factor analysis with those from an epidemiologic analysis of symptom prevalence; and 3) observe the behavior of factor analysis when performed on dichotomous data. The factor analysis identified three factors, but they were not unique to any particular deployment group. A unique pattern of illness was not found for the larger group of veterans potentially exposed to chemical warfare agents; however, veterans who had witnessed the demolition of chemical warfare agents at the Khamisiyah site in Iraq had a greater prevalence of dysesthesia. An analysis of the performance of dichotomous variables in factor analysis showed that the standard criteria used to determine the number of relevant factors and the dominant variables within them may be inappropriate. While Gulf War veterans appear to suffer an increased burden of illness, there is insufficient evidence to identify a unique syndrome in this population of deployed servicemen and women. Furthermore, the results provide evidence that factor analysis may make a limited contribution in this area of research.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Nursing, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97201-3098, USA.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

12226005

Citation

Shapiro, Susan E., et al. "Factor Analysis of Gulf War Illness: what Does It Add to Our Understanding of Possible Health Effects of Deployment?" American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 156, no. 6, 2002, pp. 578-85.
Shapiro SE, Lasarev MR, McCauley L. Factor analysis of Gulf War illness: what does it add to our understanding of possible health effects of deployment? Am J Epidemiol. 2002;156(6):578-85.
Shapiro, S. E., Lasarev, M. R., & McCauley, L. (2002). Factor analysis of Gulf War illness: what does it add to our understanding of possible health effects of deployment? American Journal of Epidemiology, 156(6), 578-85.
Shapiro SE, Lasarev MR, McCauley L. Factor Analysis of Gulf War Illness: what Does It Add to Our Understanding of Possible Health Effects of Deployment. Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Sep 15;156(6):578-85. PubMed PMID: 12226005.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Factor analysis of Gulf War illness: what does it add to our understanding of possible health effects of deployment? AU - Shapiro,Susan E, AU - Lasarev,Michael R, AU - McCauley,Linda, PY - 2002/9/13/pubmed PY - 2002/9/25/medline PY - 2002/9/13/entrez SP - 578 EP - 85 JF - American journal of epidemiology JO - Am J Epidemiol VL - 156 IS - 6 N2 - The authors conducted factor analysis on survey data from 1,779 Persian Gulf War veterans. Their purposes were to: 1) determine whether factor analysis identified a unique "Gulf War syndrome" among veterans potentially exposed to chemical warfare agents; 2) compare the findings of factor analysis with those from an epidemiologic analysis of symptom prevalence; and 3) observe the behavior of factor analysis when performed on dichotomous data. The factor analysis identified three factors, but they were not unique to any particular deployment group. A unique pattern of illness was not found for the larger group of veterans potentially exposed to chemical warfare agents; however, veterans who had witnessed the demolition of chemical warfare agents at the Khamisiyah site in Iraq had a greater prevalence of dysesthesia. An analysis of the performance of dichotomous variables in factor analysis showed that the standard criteria used to determine the number of relevant factors and the dominant variables within them may be inappropriate. While Gulf War veterans appear to suffer an increased burden of illness, there is insufficient evidence to identify a unique syndrome in this population of deployed servicemen and women. Furthermore, the results provide evidence that factor analysis may make a limited contribution in this area of research. SN - 0002-9262 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/12226005/Factor_analysis_of_Gulf_War_illness:_what_does_it_add_to_our_understanding_of_possible_health_effects_of_deployment L2 - https://academic.oup.com/aje/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/aje/kwf087 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -