Gulf War Syndrome

November 26th, 2008 | Sources: Reuters

Gulf War syndrome is legit and 175,000 US veterans of the first Gulf War suffer its effects.

That’s the conclusion of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, a group of scientists and veterans appointed in 2002 by Congress to evaluate the cornucopia of neurological and other symptoms that have struck our soldiers in the years since the war.

Several earlier studies concluded that combat stress had caused the syndrome.

“Scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans,” committee spokespeople told Reuters.

The committee added that Congress should increase research funding on Gulf War syndrome to $60 million per year.

“This is a national obligation, made especially urgent by the many years that Gulf War veterans have waited for answers and assistance,” the committee said.

The veterans that contracted Gulf War syndrome represent one quarter of all US troops that served in the effort to repel Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. The most common symptoms include diffuse pain, memory and concentration problems, fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, skin rashes and respiratory difficulties. Few vets report that their symptoms have improved since initial onset.

“Today’s report brings to a close one of the darkest chapters of the 1991 Gulf War, and that is the legacy of Gulf War illness. For those who ever doubted that Gulf War veterans are ill, this report is definitive and exhaustive,” said Anthony Hardie, who was a 23-year-old sergeant during the war.

The panel was unable to determine what causes the syndrome, but it suggested the 2 most likely factors were pyridostigmine, a drug given to the troops to protect against nerve gas, and pesticides that were used against sand flies and other bugs during the war.


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