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

nce Staff (the British equivalent of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs) during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. "They are victims of the war, as much as any one struck by a bullet or shell. Moreover, medical treatments for their conditions are needed to protect current and future military personnel at similar risk."

The Committee evaluated evidence related to a broad spectrum of Gulf War-related exposures. Its review included hundreds of studies of Gulf War veterans, extensive research in other human populations, studies on toxic exposures in animal models, and government investigations related to events and exposures in the Gulf War.

Gulf War illness is typically characterized by a combination of memory and concentration problems, persistent headaches, unexplained fatigue and widespread pain, and may also include chronic digestive problems, respiratory symptoms and skin rashes.

The new report says that scientific evidence "leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition," and it cites dozens of research studies that have identified "objective biological measures" that distinguish veterans with the illness from healthy controls. Those measures relate to structure and functioning of the brain, functioning of the autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrine and immune alterations, and variability in enzymes that protect the body from neurotoxic chemicals.

The panel cited two Gulf War exposures consistently found to be causally associated with Gulf War illness: (1) the drug pyridostigmine bromide (PB), given to troops to protect against nerve gas, and (2) pesticides that were widely used, and often overused, during the Gulf War.

The Committee found that an association between Gulf War illness and several other exposures could not be ruled out. These included low-level exposures to nerve agents, extended exposure to smoke from oil well fires, receipt of large numbers of vaccines, and combinations of neurotoxic exposures. '/>"/>

Contact: Lisa Chedekel
chedekel@bu.edu
617-414-1401
Boston University
Source:Eurekalert

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