Post deployment illness Gulf War

The ground war lasted four days and resulted in 147 battlefield deaths, but almost 199,000 of the 698,000 people who were deployed have since qualified for some degree of service-related disability. Of those, 13,317 people are disabled by "undiagnosed conditions"; Medically Unexplained Symptoms; Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS) or Unexplained Symptoms

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

What piece of mind for Gulf War Veterans

Finally, piece of mind for Gulf War Veterans

A long-anticipated report was recently and finally issued that
brought comfort to many Gulf War veterans and their families. The
report issued by the Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Com-
mittee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses in conjunction with the
Boston University School of Public Health reached an important
conclusion ? simply put: there is substantial and overwhelming
evidence that Gulf War Syndrome is a real illness.

The Committee report is important news for Gulf War veterans and
their families. At long last, they have validation that the health
issues they live with each day are real, there is a name for their
illness, and there is hope that they can finally get the treatment
and disability benefits that they are entitled to receive.

Not long after the successful conclusion of the Gulf War, many
soldiers returned home with multiple, persistent health problems
that had no clear cause and no cure. The symptoms experienced by
these veterans included a combination of memory and concentration
problems, persistent headaches, unexplained fatigue and widespread
pain, and also included chronic digestive problems, respiratory
symptoms and skin rashes.

Unfortunately, Gulf War veterans' complaints about their health
issues fell on deaf ears at the VA and within the Pentagon. As
Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in the early
1990s, I believed it absolutely necessary to get to the truth ? no
matter how uncomfortable it would be for the Pentagon or the VA.

Throughout the 1990s, those of us on the Senate Committee on
Veterans' Affairs held numerous, often contentious, hearings into
what would come to be known as Gulf War Syndrome or Gulf War
Illness. The Pentagon and the VA never officially acknowledged the
cause of these symptoms. Despite the lack of an official cause, it
became clear through our investigation that pyridostigmine bromide,
a "pretreatment" for nerve agent poisoning, was at least one cause
for the symptoms experienced by Gulf War veterans.

Now, 17 years later, the Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory
Com-mittee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses has officially released a
450-page report that validates these suspicions. It confirms Gulf
War Illness is a result of soldiers' exposure to neurotoxic
chemicals, including pyridostigmine bromide and pesticides. The
Committee also found that the association between exposure to smoke
from oil well fires, neurotoxins, and the receipt of large numbers
of vaccines could not be ruled out as causes as well.

This report confirms the cause of Gulf War Illness, but sadly, it
also states that the majority of sick Gulf War veterans have not
seen their health improve over time. Treatment options for the
175,000 ? 210,000, or one in four, Gulf War veterans suffering from
the effects of neurotoxin exposure remain few and ineffective.

We have a moral responsibility to provide care for Gulf War
veterans. They served our country, put their lives on the line and
fought with great distinction. I will not stop fighting until our
veterans are provided with every resource and benefit they have

More research must be conducted into the proper treatment of this
illness. I am pushing now for increased funding that will keep this
issue front and center ? and bring us closer to finding a cure.

I have been working for Veterans my entire career. As a nation, we
owe them everything and can never forget how much they have
sacrificed and how deserving they are of piece of mind, support, and
a special thing called hope.

(PS) as lived by Venus Hammack a VA-DHA patient



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