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Gulf War research panel finds 1 in 4 veterans suffers from illness caused by toxic exposure
Date:11/17/2008

Washington, DC (Nov. 17, 2008) At least one in four of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffer from Gulf War illness, a condition caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides and a drug administered to protect troops against nerve gas, and no effective treatments have yet been found, a federal panel of scientific experts and veterans concludes in a landmark report released Monday.

The Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses presented the report today to Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake at VA headquarters in Washington.

Scientific staff support to the Committee is provided by the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). The full report is posted at: http://sph.bu.edu/insider/racreport

"The extensive body of scientific research now available consistently indicates that Gulf War illness is real, that it is the result of neurotoxic exposures during Gulf War deployment, and that few veterans have recovered or substantially improved with time," the report says.

The 450-page report brings together for the first time the full range of scientific research and government investigations on Gulf War illness and resolves many questions about the condition.

"Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War had the distinction of serving their country in a military operation that was a tremendous success, achieved in short order. But many had the misfortune of developing lasting health consequences that were poorly understood and, for too long, denied or trivialized," the Committee's report says.

The report found that Gulf War illness fundamentally differs from stress-related syndromes described after other wars. "Studies consistently indicate that Gulf War illness is not the result of combat or other stressors, and that Gulf War veterans have lower rates of posttraumatic stress disorde
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Contact: Lisa Chedekel
chedekel@bu.edu
617-414-1401
Boston University
Source:Eurekalert

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