Magazine article VFW Magazine

Gulf War Syndrome Dismissed

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Gulf War Syndrome Dismissed

Article excerpt

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A VA-funded report released in September concludes there is no such thing as Gulf War Syndrome. Specifically, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee that conducted the review of previous studies concerning the health of Persian Gulf War vets found "no unique syndrome, unique illness or unique symptom complex" in veterans deployed during the 1991 war.

"Every pattern identified in Gulf War veterans also seems to exist in other veterans, though it is important to note the symptom rate is higher, and it is a serious issue," said IOM committee head Dr. Lynn Goldman of Johns Hopkins University.

According to the report, 29% of the 700,000 vets who deployed to the Gulf War zone suffer from "multisymptom illness" compared to 16% who did not deploy. Those symptoms include memory loss, amnesia, dyspepsia, skin rashes, joint pain and fatigue.

The report found no evidence of increased rates of cancer, peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses or diabetes. It did find that Gulf War vets might have an increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), brain cancer or an aggravation of asthma associated with oil-well fire smoke, and their offspring might be at risk for urinary tract abnormalities. …

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