View Full Version : Gulf War illness experts testify at hearing

09-26-07, 08:34 AM
Gulf War illness experts testify at hearing
By Suzanne Gamboa - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 26, 2007 7:20:02 EDT

Sixteen years since the 1991 Persian Gulf War ended, veterans of that war continue to be told by physicians that Gulf War illness does not exist or that their illnesses are psychological, said witnesses at a Senate committee hearing.

A 5-year-old VA pamphlet providing guidance to doctors on Gulf War illnesses still emphasizes stress as a cause, said Jim Binns, chairman of the VA Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses.

Binns said 175,000, or one in four of those who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, suffers some form of multisymptom illnesses.

Julie Mock, a 1991 veteran and president of Veterans of Modern Warfare, testified that she believes her problems stem from vaccines she received at the time, as well as exposure to chemicals while she was deployed with the Army’s 87th Medical Detachment.

She pressed for more research, telling the panel she experienced debilitating headaches, respiratory illnesses and skin that grew hot with red rashes. In 2003, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Her children also have severe medical problems. One son has a connective tissue disease, learning disabilities, bipolar disorder and Tourette’s syndrome.

“We believe it is vital to the health of our most recent veterans that you continue to study the long-term health of Persian Gulf War veterans and our children,” Mock said. “We won’t let you forget. We won’t let you leave us behind. Please help us and our families.”

The U.S. has spent about $300 million researching Gulf War illnesses.

“Yet we still don’t have an answer,” said Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s top Republican. “While I’m frustrated by the lack of progress, I remain heartened by the fact that we know more now than we did when we started. I’m also heartened by what I see as an emerging consensus.”

That consensus, he said, is that Gulf War illnesses are seen as real problems.

Lea Steele, scientific director for the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illness, said by far the biggest problem is a number of symptoms that tend to be grouped under the blanket term “Gulf War Illness”: severe headaches, profound fatigue, memory problems and persistent body pain. Skin lesions, respiratory and other problems also fall into this category, she said.

“We know veterans who have had diarrhea for 16 years,” Steele said.

But there are other problems, too, she said. Her committee is recommending more testing on other diagnosed conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, which one large VA study suggested has occurred in twice as many Gulf War veterans as non-Gulf veterans. And troops downwind of a large weapons depot destroyed in 1991 in Iraq have died of brain cancer at twice the rate of veterans who served in other areas, she said.

“We must all work together to make this a reality so that what happened to our troops in the first Persian Gulf War is not repeated,” said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

Binns said the Defense Department historically has funded two-thirds of Gulf War illness research, about $30 million annually. But he said the Defense Department did not request funding for the program in its 2008 budget.

Michael Kilpatrick, the Pentagon’s deputy director for force health protection and readiness, said the Defense Department has renamed Gulf War research as force deployment research.

In written testimony, Kilpatrick said more than 80 percent of Gulf War veterans have well-known health problems and receive conventional diagnoses and treatment. He said veterans who have health problems are definitely ill but have to be treated individually.

“Assumptions based on participation in the 1991 Gulf War cannot be made about the health of a veteran,” he stated.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she and others would try to get funding for the Defense Department program, but it may not come this budget cycle. But progress on research on Gulf War illnesses has come from earmarks, she added.


09-26-07, 02:26 PM
I'm a Desert Storm Veteran, and I've heard 16 years of lip service when it comes to this. Somebody knew something was up. I ran cross country in high school, and before leaving the Marines, ran 4miles in 23:50. My joints ache, I am being given asthma treatments, and have the rashes occasionally.

Now, here's the thing about the stress theory. I've done things to try to relax and reduce my stress, and things are still out of whack. Any Desert Storm Veteran on this board needs to keep up the pressure.

10-17-07, 08:27 PM
I'm a Desert storm Vet and still live with the nightmares of Sever PTSD and unknown tired lillness with skin dryness and fingernails bleeding.I have fought to live since my return home.I still feel sick to my stomach dont know if it is stress.Doctors dont know really what to do.They just say its due to stress.I've lost lots of other friends to this unknown and ran across some fakers.I can see it in them when I come across someone who is in the same shape I'm in.4 day WAR yeah right.Hey what about our friends that haven't been recconized.I've met many Viet Nam Vets and some Korean Vets.You guys are strong to keep on pushing for help.Thankyou for at least kicking the doors open for us youngins.May God Bless you...

10-18-07, 07:53 PM
I heard that's from the aspartame in the bug juice.