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Gulf War Illness: Evaluation of an Innovative Detoxification Program

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01672710
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 27, 2012
Results First Posted : December 28, 2018
Last Update Posted : April 13, 2020
United States Department of Defense
The Sage Colleges
Women's College Hospital
Severna Park Health and Wellness Center
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
David O. Carpenter, University at Albany

Tracking Information
First Submitted Date  ICMJE August 15, 2012
First Posted Date  ICMJE August 27, 2012
Results First Submitted Date  ICMJE July 31, 2018
Results First Posted Date  ICMJE December 28, 2018
Last Update Posted Date April 13, 2020
Study Start Date  ICMJE April 2010
Actual Primary Completion Date August 2015   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Current Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: December 22, 2018)
Short Form-36 for Veterans Quality of Life Physical Component Summary Scores [ Time Frame: baseline, 5 weeks ]
Qualify of life will be determined per Short Form-36 for veterans quality of life Physical component (PCS) summary scales, range from 0 to 100 with 100 being better; 50 is expected population average. immediate intervention and waitlist groups changes compared from baseline and adjusted mean differences at end of 5 weeks.
Original Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: August 22, 2012)
Improvement on quality of life measurement [ Time Frame: Subjects will be tested at three points in time for the experimental and four points for the control group. The investigators expect to have completed recruitment of all subjects and obtained all information at the end of no more than two years. ]
Qualify of life will be determined by quality of life tests given before the detoxification program, immediately after and three months after completion of the detoxification program. The hypothesis to be tested is that subjects will report a maintained improved quality of life after completion of the program.
Change History
Current Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: April 6, 2020)
Fatigue Severity [ Time Frame: baseline, 5 weeks ]
Multidimensional fatigue inventory. change in Self reported fatigue severity. Measures 5 dimensions of fatigue: general, physical, mental, reduced motivation and reduced activity. Scores 4-20 in each dimension, higher score worse fatigue.
Original Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: August 22, 2012)
Improved performance on cognitive function tests [ Time Frame: All cognitive tests will be given at the same schedule as listed above, with tests given at four times for the control group and three for the experimental group. ]
Several cognitive function tests will be given before, immediately after and three months after completion of the program. The hypothesis being tested is that performance will have improved after the program.
Current Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Not Provided
Original Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures
 (submitted: August 22, 2012)
Improved clinical chemistry test parameters [ Time Frame: Blood draws for clinical chemistries will be obtained at each of time points listed above. The investigators expect ot have completed recruitment of all subjects and obtained all information at the end of no more than two years. ]
All subjects will have blood samples drawn for measurement of comprehensive metabolic panel, lipid panel, complete blood count with differential and thyroid panel before, immediately after and three months after completing the program.
Descriptive Information
Brief Title  ICMJE Gulf War Illness: Evaluation of an Innovative Detoxification Program
Official Title  ICMJE Pilot Study of Application of the Hubbard Detoxification Program to Veterans With Gulf War Illness
Brief Summary Gulf War illness is found in about one fourth of veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War and is characterized by persistent memory and concentration problems, headaches, fatigue and muscle and joint pain. It is not known what causes the illness, but exposure to chemicals is suspected. The Hubbard detoxification program consists of exercise and sauna therapy together with administration of several dietary supplements, particularly crystalline niacin used at increasing concentrations over a period of about four weeks. The investigators hypothesize that this program will reduce symptoms, as tested by administration of cognitive and quality of life tests and serum clinical chemistry tests.
Detailed Description

This will be a pilot randomized controlled trial of feasibility, safety and changes in fatigue and pain symptoms, measured quality of life, mental health status, and neuro-cognitive functioning of a group of GWVs after a 4 to 6 week sauna detoxification regimen as compared to control. For control subjects we will also have a group of GWVs receiving usual care who are randomly assigned to a waitlist and who will start the intervention after a four to six week delay. The waitlist group will also take part in the baseline tests a second time just prior to their treatment 4 to 6 weeks later and a 7-day post-treatment battery of tests the same as described for the treatment group. Finally, there will be a 3-month follow-up with both the groups. The Severna Park Health and Wellness Center (SPHWC) is a commercial center that offers the Hubbard detoxification program. The investigators will contract with SPHWC to provide the program to the subjects of this study and to provide office space for the Study Coordinator, so that all components of this project except the initial Physician evaluation and blood sample acquisition can be done at the Center, not just the detoxification.

Study Variables: The investigators will examine feasibility of the research design, and safety of the regimen and estimate changes in:

  • Quality of life as measured by the Veterans Short Form (SF36-V). The SF36-V also includes physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component summary scores.
  • Case status for GWI will be assessed utilizing the Kansas criteria.
  • Symptoms of fatigue and pain in GWI will be measured wit, the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, and the short-form McGill Pain-2 Questionnaire.
  • Cognitive function will be measured with a battery of neurocognitive tests. These will include visual motor, memory and executive functioning as measured by the Trailmaking test, Grooved Pegboard, Wechsler Memory Abbreviated test, and the Stroop color word test. To account for potential confounding in neurocognitive testing, mental health status will be evaluated using the Symptom Checklist 90 revised and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory.
  • Physical health status will be assessed via standard medical examination and laboratory analyses of serum metabolic panel, lipid profile and hormones.

Sampling Method: This will be a convenience sample and will consist of Gulf War Veterans who meet the Kansas case definition for Gulf War illness and reside in the Washington/Baltimore area or can travel to and reside in the area for several weeks. The individuals who show interest in this study, who meet eligibility criteria and subsequently agree to participate will be selected to enroll in the study.

Randomization: Volunteers will be randomly assigned to a group when they enroll. One group will be the immediate experimental intervention group and one group will be the wait-list control group. Random assignment will be achieved by use of sequentially numbered, opaque, sealed envelopes. Both will undergo the detoxification protocol, but the control group will be tested twice prior to treatment.

Study Type  ICMJE Interventional
Study Phase  ICMJE Phase 2
Study Design  ICMJE Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description:
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Condition  ICMJE Gulf War Illness
Intervention  ICMJE Drug: plain crystalline niacin, exercise, sauna
A four to six week regimen consisting of daily, supervised, mild-moderate exercise as tolerated for 20 minutes, supervised, intermittent Finnish saunas (at about 140'F) sauna time with breaks and showers, gradually increased as tolerated to approximately 4 hours, dietary supplements including immediate release niacin in gradually increasing doses from 100 mg to a maximum of 5000 mg per day, salt and water, other vitamins, minerals and oils per Hubbard protocol.
Other Name: Hubbard detoxification program
Study Arms  ICMJE
  • Experimental: regimen of niacin, exercise, sauna,
    4-5 week daily sauna, exercise and niacin with other supplements
    Intervention: Drug: plain crystalline niacin, exercise, sauna
  • waitlist
    4 week waitlist with treatment as usual
    Intervention: Drug: plain crystalline niacin, exercise, sauna
Publications * Graves DF, Morse GS, Kerr K, Carpenter DO. A Pilot Study to Examine Psychological and Neuropsychological Outcomes and a Novel Detoxification Program for Gulf War Illness. Mil Med. 2021 Jan 25;186(Suppl 1):205-213. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usaa486.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Recruitment Information
Recruitment Status  ICMJE Completed
Actual Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: December 22, 2018)
Original Estimated Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: August 22, 2012)
Actual Study Completion Date  ICMJE December 2015
Actual Primary Completion Date August 2015   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Eligibility Criteria  ICMJE

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Any veteran of the 1990-1991 Gulf War who meets the Kansas Gulf War Illness case definition.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Veterans who meet the inclusion criteria but have been diagnosed by a physician with (1) chronic conditions (eg., cancer, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.) that are not associated with Gulf War service but can produce diverse symptoms similar to Gulf War Illness; (2) conditions that might interfere with respondents' ability to report symptoms (eg., psychiatric conditions or history of hospitalization for depression, alcohol or drug dependence; (3) pregnancy or unwillingness to use contraception.
Sex/Gender  ICMJE
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Ages  ICMJE Child, Adult, Older Adult
Accepts Healthy Volunteers  ICMJE No
Contacts  ICMJE Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
Listed Location Countries  ICMJE United States
Removed Location Countries  
Administrative Information
NCT Number  ICMJE NCT01672710
Other Study ID Numbers  ICMJE GW093066
Has Data Monitoring Committee No
U.S. FDA-regulated Product Not Provided
IPD Sharing Statement  ICMJE
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Current Responsible Party David O. Carpenter, University at Albany
Original Responsible Party Same as current
Current Study Sponsor  ICMJE University at Albany
Original Study Sponsor  ICMJE Same as current
Collaborators  ICMJE
  • United States Department of Defense
  • The Sage Colleges
  • Women's College Hospital
  • Severna Park Health and Wellness Center
Investigators  ICMJE
Principal Investigator: David O Carpenter, MD University at Albany
PRS Account University at Albany
Verification Date April 2020

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP