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Causes of Gulf War Illness are complex and vary by deployment area -- Baylor University study
Date:9/18/2011

D missiles or smoke from the Kuwaiti oil fires, and pesticide use.

In contrast, for veterans who remained in support areas, GWI was significantly increased only in the relatively small subgroup that wore pesticide-treated uniforms and also used skin pesticides. The study found no significant link between GWI and warzone experiences associated with a high degree of psychological stress, such as serving in combat and seeing others who were killed or badly injured.

The study evaluated symptoms, health conditions and deployment experiences reported by 304 veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm. That conflict concluded in February, 1991, after a six-week air campaign and four-day ground war.

Although the war was brief, concerns have been raised about a variety of chemical exposures associated with Gulf War deployment. The Baylor study found that a large proportion of veterans who were in Iraq and Kuwait used PB pills and were exposed to the smoke from over 600 burning oil well fires, which darkened Kuwaiti skies for much of 1991. Investigations sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense also indicate that approximately 100,000 U.S. troops were potentially exposed to low levels of chemical nerve agents released during weapons demolition operations in Iraq after the 1991 cease fire, and that thousands of troops were likely overexposed to different types of pesticides, which were commonly misused and overused during the 1991 Gulf War.

"Our study results strongly suggest that GWI is the residual effect of exposures encountered by military personnel who served in the 1991 Gulf War," said Steele, research professor of biomedical studies in the Institute of Biomedical Studies at Baylor. "Although the specific biological mechanisms are not well understood, we know that a number of the 1991 Gulf War exposures of concernPB pills, many of the pesticides, and low-level nerve agentsaffect the sam
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Contact: Frank Raczkiewicz
Frank_Raczkiewicz@baylor.edu
254-710-1964
Baylor University
Source:Eurekalert

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