Recent Study: Gulf War Illness is Real

NGAUS Washington Report

(June 18, 2013) Researchers have found physical evidence for Gulf War illness, which has plagued thousands of veterans of the war to push Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991.

Neurological damage has been found in veterans reporting symptoms related to the mysterious malady, according to a report in the online medical journal PLoS One. The New York Times reported on the study Friday.

“Gulf War illness is real,” Rakib U. Rayhan, the principal author of the study, told the newspaper. “There is objective evidence that something is wrong in the brains of these veterans.”

Using magnetic resonance imaging, researchers took a look at the brains of the veterans with symptoms and found damage not present in the brains of a control group of nonveterans and healthy veterans.

Critics say the study was not broad enough, only including 28 veterans with symptoms and 10 without symptoms.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 250,000 of the nearly 700,000 service members who served in the war have reported symptoms, the newspaper noted.

Meanwhile, the VA has come under fire in recent days for replacing members of a department advisory committee on the illness. The VA denies that the changes were made to rein in a panel that had become too independent.