Report confirms "Gulf War Syndrome"

CNN and many other news services are reporting that:

According to the report, Gulf War illness is a “complex of multiple concurrent symptoms” that “typically includes persistent memory and concentration problems, chronic headaches, widespread pain, gastrointestinal problems, and other chronic abnormalities.”

The illness may also be potentially tied to higher rates of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — among Gulf War veterans than veterans of other conflicts.

The illness is identified as the consequence of multiple “biological alterations” affecting the brain and nervous system. Do you know someone affected by Gulf War illness?

While it is sometimes difficult to issue a specific diagnosis of the disease, it is, according to the report, no longer difficult to identify a cause.

The report identifies two Gulf War “neurotoxic” exposures that “are causally associated with Gulf War illness.” The first is the ingestion of pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills, given to protect troops from effects of nerve agents. The second is exposure to dangerous pesticides used during the conflict.

The report does not rule out other possible contributors to Gulf War illness — including low-level exposure to nerve agents and close proximity to oil well fires — though it fails to establish any clear link.

The report concludes there is no clear link between the illness and a veteran’s exposure to factors such as depleted uranium or an anthrax vaccine administered at the time.

“Gulf War illness isn’t some imaginary syndrome,” said Ken Robinson, the senior intelligence officer for the initial Department of Defense investigation into Gulf War illness in 1996-97.

“This is real, and it has devastated families. Now is the time to restore the funding cuts that have been made in the Veterans Administration. Our mission has to be to ensure that these veterans get help and become whole again.”