Gulf War Syndrome

A scientific panel has concluded that the Veterans Affairs Department should stop searching for links between environmental exposures in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and veterans’ illnesses and instead focus on monitoring and treating those who have health problems related to deploying 25 years ago. In a report released 11 FEB, Institute of Medicine researchers said Gulf War veterans are at increased risk for developing some physical and psychological health conditions like post-traumatic stress, anxiety, Gulf War illness and chronic fatigue syndrome, but other diseases
like cancer, respiratory illnesses and most neurodegenerative conditions do not appear to occur at higher rates in these former troops. Without concrete information on each Gulf War veteran’s exposure and the unlikely prospect of ever having the data, VA should focus instead on following this group as members age and treat illnesses that develop, panelists said. According to the report, there also is “limited but suggestive” evidence that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS,
fibromalygia and chronic pain and self-reported sexual dysfunction are related to Gulf War deployment. But it found little or no evidence that cancer, skin conditions, birth defects, musculoskeletal system diseases, multiple sclerosis and other illnesses were related. “In spite of a thorough literature search, [this] committee found little evidence to warrant changes to the conclusions made by [a previous IOM] committee regarding the strength of the association between deployment to the Gulf War and adverse health outcomes,”

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