Gulf War Syndrome: Underlying Cause Narrowed To Three

1173188_soldier Great strides has been made for Gulf War Syndrome, as research has determine the underlying causes stem from one of three possibilities:  chemical nerve agents, pesticides, and the use of pyridostigmine bromide pills.

Thanks to the hard work of a group of researchers under the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, the 18-year struggle to find the cause(s) of this mysterious illness is finally being pinpointed.

In December I reported that Gulf War Syndrome was officially determined to be a real illness which I am sure finally gave validation to all of the men and women who have been suffering from this illness for years.  Within that post I wrote, you can find a link to the report released in November 2008 by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs titled “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans”.

Col. Melissa Forsythe, program manager of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, had this to say about Gulf War Syndrome:

“There is definitely something different that has happened to service members during the Gulf War as opposed to what is happening to Soldiers now.  Today’s Soldiers don’t exhibit any of the same symptoms.  We’re talking about the same geographical region. So what happened to these service members in 1990-91 that’s not happening now? That’s really the central question.”

According to the research information I found on ProHealth:

Chemical nerve agents, PB and many of the pesticides to which Gulf War veterans were exposed belong to a class of chemicals called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These chemicals inactivate the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is essential for breaking down the neurotransmitter chemical acetylcholine, a chemical which affects numerous bodily functions, according to the report.

Col. Forsythe says that the mixture of the chemical nerve agents, pesticides, and pyridostigmine bromide pills along with the vaccine that was given to those who served in the Gulf War can’t be ruled out as possible causes for the illness.  As of this time, the only way to treat GWS is to treat the individual symptoms which include:

  • chronic headaches
  • widespread pain
  • fatigue
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • respiratory problems
  • skin rashes
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