Friday, October 23, 2020

Gulf War Veteran Survey Now Open

 

The Nova Southeastern survey study of Gulf War veterans is open for a limited time.  


If you have already taken it already, don't take it again. There are two parts.



Survey Part 1 – https://redcap.nova.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=EHPDFDDRWY 


Note you must take Part 1 to proceed to part 2.  Survey Part 2 https://redcap.nova.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=MCWFYKHR4D



There are certain illnesses that are associated with the men and women in service during the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 


These illnesses are today more commonly referred to as Gulf War illness (GWI) or have also been called by other names, including Chronic Multisymptom Illness (CMI).


During their time of service, many veterans may have been exposed to a variety of environmental, psychological and chemical hazards which are associated with GWI. 


These include but are not limited to: vaccinations, oil well fires, chemical & biological weapons, psychological stress, sarin/nerve gas, depleted uranium, pesticides such as DEET, infectious diseases, pyridostigmine bromide (PB), CARC paint, sand, dust and other particulates, toxic embedded fragments, heat Injuries, occupational hazards and noise.


Part 2 expands on these issues and includes questions about Family members and COVID-19.


YOU WILL NOT BE CONTACTED UNLESS YOU REQUEST IT ON THE SURVEY.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Research Finds Gulf War Pesticide Associated with Immune Response in Gulf War Illness

 A permethrin metabolite is associated with immune responses in Gulf War Illness

(Sarasota, FL - Roskamp Institute) - Gulf War Illness remains difficult to diagnose and treat since exposure to Gulf War chemicals happened nearly 30 years ago.  Many studies now provide strong support that pesticide exposure during the Gulf War is one of the key factors in causing GWI. 

This recent work at the Roskamp Institute shows that the pesticides used during the 1991 Gulf War can cause the body to negatively react to its own proteins that play important roles in supporting bodily functions. 

This negative reaction is similar to the reactions seen in autoimmune diseases, which result in our immune system mistakenly attacking proteins in our own bodies. 

Until now, it has been largely unclear as to how Gulf War pesticides could have directly contributed to the autoimmune-type changes observed in veterans with GWI since pesticide molecules are too small for the immune system to register as a threat. 

When the pesticide molecules enter the body, they are broken down into smaller particles, called metabolites. These metabolites are also too small by themselves to elicit a response from the immune system. 

However, if those pesticide metabolites combine with proteins in the body, the new combination is called a hapten which can then be perceived by the immune system as a foreign threat, resulting in an autoimmune type reaction to haptenated proteins. 

This hapten phenomena is often seen with the usage of certain medications like aspirin and antibiotics, where an individual may have an allergic immune response after taking those medications because of the drug haptens that form in their body. 

A 2019 study published in the journal, Brain Behavior and Immunity (Joshi et al., 2019), shows that some of the common metabolites of GW pesticides do indeed form hapten and combine with natural proteins. 

Those researchers found that antibodies, which are flags that the immune system uses to mark foreign threats to mount an attack, specific to those pesticide-haptens are present in our GWI mouse model long after the first pesticide exposure. 

Such antibodies were also detected in veterans diagnosed with GWI, this time nearly 30 years after they would have been originally exposed to pesticides. 

This corresponds with veterans’ self-reports of pesticide exposure during the Gulf War

This evidence of pesticide exposure resulting in activating immune responses in both the brain and other body systems and the fact that veterans with GWI show autoimmune symptoms supports further study of the role of pesticide-related antibodies in GWI. 

The goal of our upcoming studies is to identify exactly how Gulf War pesticides drive this autoimmune dysfunction. 

The researchers are in the process of expanding their work and testing additional veterans with GWI to see if antibodies to different Gulf War pesticides or their metabolites are detected in veterans with GWI.  

Once the mechanism has been identified, biological markers that are specific to GWI pesticide exposure can be identified in order to help with diagnosing GWI and for developing new means of interventions for veterans with GWI.  

 

ABOUT THE ROSKAMP INSTITUTE GULF WAR ILLNESS STUDY

The study calls for the recruitment of 100 GW veterans. Volunteers will be seen one time for collecting information on their health and blood samples. 

As with other diseases studied at the Roskamp Institute, scientists and clinicians there are always looking for new ways to understand and treat neurological illnesses that affect our military and veteran populations.

If you want to learn more about this and other clinical research studies being conducted at the Roskamp Institute, please call Megan Parks at (941) 256-8018 ext. 3008.

Link to the full journal article:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159119303290?via%3Dihub

Treatment Research Studies for 1990-91 Gulf War Veterans

(91outcomes.com - August 18, 2020)  There are several important resources for veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War interested in participating in treatment research studies.

Individual Studies

There are numerous individual clinical trials and other studies around the U.S. that are actively recruiting veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War.  Below are several resources to find them.


ClinicalTrials.gov

ClinicalTrials.gov is an online searchable database of federally-funded clinical trials.  

  • Results using the search terms, "Gulf War


GWIC-BU

The Gulf War Illness Consortium at Boston University (GWIC-BU) has been a collaborative effort comprised of multiple Gulf War Illness studies related to brain involvement in Gulf War Illness. 

The GWIC-BU had sites in Boston, Miami, and Houston.  It is funded by the Gulf War Illness CDMRP (GWIRP)

It is still recruiting healthy Gulf War veterans in Boston through September 2020.


GWICTIC

The Gulf War Illness Clinical Trials and Interventions Center (GWICTIC) is a collaborative research group with multiple Gulf War illness clinical trials (treatment trials).  

Current GWICTIC study sites are actively recruiting veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War, both with Gulf War Illness and healthy, including women veteran, in the following locations:
  • Nationwide (Bacopa study)
  • Nationwide (Glutathione study)
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Boston, MA
  • Durham, NC (Auto-antibody study)
  • East Orange, NJ/New York, NY
  • Houston, TX
  • Palo Alto, CA
The collaborating sites are both non-VA and VA and (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). 

New studies and study sites may continue to be added.

The GWICTIC is 
is headquartered at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.  It is funded by the Gulf War Illness CDMRP (GWIRP), which encourages researchers to collaborate with it.


WRIISC's

The VA's War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers (WRIISC's) serve as both clinical evaluation centers and as research hubs.  

Study locations for WRIISC studies, both Gulf War and non-Gulf War, include:




Friday, March 20, 2020

**Action Alert** Call on Your Senators to Continue Gulf War Treatment Research


(91outcomes.com) - The treatment-focused Gulf War Illness research program expires at the end of this fiscal year.  The goal is to continue to grow this critically important treatment development research for the nearly one-third of Gulf War veterans debilitated by Gulf War Illness.

It parallels the effort in the U.S. House that just concluded, led by Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-NMI) and Rep. Jack Bergman, LtGen, USMC (Ret.) (R-Mich.) with 108 bipartisan cosigners including the leadership and many members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Contact your U.S. Senators' offices to sign onto the: "Baldwin Dear Colleague in support of FY21 funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within DoD’s CDMRP." 

**Sign-On Deadline EXTENDED TO**: Close of Business, Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Find your Senator:  www.senate.gov/senators/contact


**Your quick phone call to your two U.S. Senators' offices will help make the difference in Congress deciding to continue this critical program for one more year.  If not, it will expire at the end of this fiscal year.**

This FY21 request is supported by 25 veterans service and advocacy organizations, including: 

Association of the United States Navy, Blinded Veterans Association, Burn Pits 360, Cease Fire Campaign, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Fleet Reserve Association, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Veterans Legal Services Program, National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Non Commissioned Officers Association, ROA, Sergeant Sullivan Circle, Swords to Plowshares, The Quinism Foundation, TREA: The Enlisted Association, United Soldiers and Sailors of America - USASOA, Veteran Warriors, Veterans and Military Families for Progress, Veterans for Common Sense, Veterans of Foreign Wars, VetsFirst, Vietnam Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project

The final list of co-signers includes (as of Wednesday, April 1st):



  1. Tammy Baldwin 
  2. Tina Smith 
  3. Tammy Duckworth 
  4. Elizabeth Warren 
  5. Kirsten E. Gillibrand 
  6. Gary C. Peters 
  7. Amy Klobuchar 
  8. Mazie K. Hirono 
  9. Ron Wyden 
  10. Richard Blumenthal 
  11. Jacky Rosen 
  12. Maria Cantwell 
  13. Jon Tester 
  14. Sheldon Whitehouse 
  15. Kyrsten Sinema 
  16. Edward J. Markey 
  17. Kamala D. Harris 
  18. Bernard Sanders 
  19. Dianne Feinstein
  20. Debbie Stabenow
  21. Robert Menendez
  22. Cory A. Booker



The text of the Senate "Dear Colleague" is below.

****


Dear Colleague,



Senator Baldwin invites your boss to join her on a letter to SAC-D in support of FY21 funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within DoD’s CDMRP. The letter asks for “adequate funding” to continue the program and support its planned expansion into more advanced, larger-scale clinical trials, which is a mark of the program’s research progress helping our country’s Gulf War veterans.  In FY20, the program received $22M as a separate topic/funding line in the DoD conference report. Adequate funding would fund one large-scale, Phase III clinical trial aimed at confirming the efficacy and safety of treatments for Gulf War Illness.



The letter lists the large number of VSOs supporting this effort. Reps. Bergman and Sablan are leading a similar effort in the House.



Please let me know if you have any questions and/or would like to chat. Unfortunately, Gulf War Veterans and Gulf War Illness do not receive the attention commensurate with their service and the need, respectively. This letter and the GWIRP goes a long way toward fixing that.


Deadline: Thursday, March 26

FY20 Cosigners: Baldwin, Tester, Blumenthal, Warren, Menendez, Wyden, Whitehouse, Markey, Sanders, Hirono, Duckworth, Rosen, Booker, Smith, Klobuchar, Peters, Harris, Stabenow, Brown, Gillibrand, Cantwell


Blake_Souter@baldwin

7-4419

March XX, 2020


The Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman
Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
113 Dirksen 
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Richard J. Durbin
Vice Chairman
Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
711 Hart 
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Durbin:

As your Subcommittee begins work on the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Defense Appropriations bill, we respectfully request adequate funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). We also thank you for providing the program $22 million in FY 2020.
By congressional design, the GWIRP is a unique medical research program narrowly focused on improving the health and lives of Veterans with Gulf War Illness. Reports by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and government committees have shown that: 1) Gulf War Illness (“GWI”), likely caused by toxic exposures, affects up to one-third of the nearly 700,000 veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War; and 2) GWI’s debilitating symptoms typically include "some combination of widespread pain, headache, persistent problems with memory and thinking, fatigue, breathing problems, stomach and intestinal symptoms, and skin abnormalities."[1]
The GWIRP is narrowly focused on unraveling GWI’s underlying pathobiology, improving its definition and diagnosis, and developing treatments. While two-thirds of GWIRP-funded studies are still in progress, the growing body of results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals demonstrates steady advances toward the GWIRP’s goals. GWIRP-funded pilot studies shown as promising are now progressing to larger-scale clinical trials. These successes are the direct result of clear, treatment-focused congressional direction, stable appropriations, and effective management. Key recent GWIRP-funded results include:
§  The first direct evidence of neuroinflammation in veterans with GWI,[2] a treatable target.
§  Significantly different gut microbiome patterns in GWI, including greater plasma levels of an inflammatory cytokine and associated with significantly more reported GW chemical weapons exposure and GWI symptoms.[3]  
§  25 percent reduction in key GWI symptoms by treating GWI with KPAX002, a proprietary combination designed to support mitochondrial function.[4]
Recognizing the GWIRP’s progress, the recommendations in the last Research Advisory Committee report remain instructive: "Congress should maintain its funding to support the effective treatment-oriented [GWIRP].”[5] The discoveries through the GWIRP continue to represent encouraging steps toward achieving the treatment goals articulated by the NAS: “to speed the development of effective treatments, cures, and, it is hoped, preventions" for current and future U.S. forces at risk of similar exposures and outcomes. Indeed, the GWIRP has served as a model of how to conduct treatment-oriented research to address a challenging illness and is succeeding where earlier programs failed. Its two-tier peer-reviewed and highly competitive process ensures the independence and value of the results produced. Unlike the VA’s research program, which only funds VA researchers, the GWIRP seeks out and funds the best research by any combination of government, academic, or private-sector researchers and research teams. 
We respectfully request that you provide the necessary resources in the FY21 Defense Appropriations bill to support this vital and effective program as it progresses into more advanced, larger-scale clinical trials – a development indicative of the GWIRP’s steady progress, but one that comes with well-justified, added costs. Furthermore, it remains critical to the program's success and accountability that the GWIRP is retained as a stand-alone program within the CDMRP and not be combined as a topic area within broader, less-targeted research programs.
Thank you for your consideration of our request, which is supported by the Veterans for Common Sense, Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Non Commissioned Officers Association, the Quinism Foundation, TREA: The Enlisted Association, Veterans and Military Families for Progress, Fleet Reserve Association, Association of the United States Navy, Sgt. Sullivan Circle.

Sincerely,

 


Tammy Baldwin
Unites States Senator






[1] National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, “Gulf War and Health, Volume 8: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War,” 2010; Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013,” 2014.
[2] Zeynab A, Albrecht DS, Bergan C, Akeju O, Clauw DJ, Conby L, Edwards RR, Kim M, Lee YC, Protsenko E, Napadow V, Sullivan K, Loggia ML.  (February 2020).  In-vivo imaging of neuroinflammation in veterans with Gulf War illness Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.01.020   
[3] Janulewicz, Patricia A.; Seth, Ratanesh K.; Carlson, Jeffrey M.; Ajama, Joy; Quinn, Emily; Heeren, Timothy; Klimas, Nancy; Lasley, Steven M.; Horner, Ronnie D.; Sullivan, Kimberly; Chatterjee, Saurabh.  (2019). "The Gut-Microbiome in Gulf War Veterans: A Preliminary Report." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 19: 3751.  http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193751.  See also: GWIRP-funded project expands exciting gut biome finding for Gulf War Illness
[4] Holodniy M, Kaiser JD. (November 2019). Treatment for Gulf War Illness (GWI) with KPAX002 (methylphenidate hydrochloride + GWI nutrient formula) in subjects meeting the Kansas case definition: A prospective, open-label trial.  J. of Psych. Rsch., 118: 14-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.08.003 .  See also: “A Prospective Open-Label Clinical Trial of Methylphenidate plus a GWI-Specific Nutrient Formula in Patients with Gulf War Illness and Concentration Disturbances”.
[5] Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013,” 2014.


Friday, February 28, 2020

Help Grow Gulf War Illness Treatment Research

Image result for contact congress

(91outcomes.com) - The treatment-focused Gulf War Illness research program expires at the end of this fiscal year.  The goal is to continue to grow this critically important treatment development research for the nearly one-third of Gulf War veterans debilitated by Gulf War Illness.

Contact your Member of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign onto "The Sablan-Bergman Dear Colleague to Support FY21 funding for DoD-CDMRP Gulf War Illness Treatment Research. **Deadline Extended**: 6 PM on Friday, March 13, 2020.

**Your quick phone call to your Rep. will help make the difference in Congress deciding to continue this critical program for one more year.  If not, it will expire at the end of this fiscal year.**

A parallel effort in the Senate, led by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, will also begin in the coming weeks. 

Find your Representative:  www.house.gov/representatives

The text of the "Dear Colleague" is below.

This FY21 request is supported by 25 veterans service and advocacy organizations, including: 
Association of the United States Navy, Blinded Veterans Association, Burn Pits 360, Cease Fire Campaign, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Fleet Reserve Association, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Veterans Legal Services Program, National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Non Commissioned Officers Association, ROA, Sergeant Sullivan Circle, Swords to Plowshares, The Quinism Foundation, TREA: The Enlisted Association, United Soldiers and Sailors of America - USASOA, Veteran Warriors, Veterans and Military Families for Progress, Veterans for Common Sense, Veterans of Foreign Wars, VetsFirst, Vietnam Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project

Current cosigners include, as of 12:55 PM (ET), March 12, 2020:  



Last Name
First Name
District
1
Sablan
Gregorio Kilili Camacho
MP-00
2
Bergman
Jack
MI-01
3
Moore
Gwen
WI-04
4
Payne, Jr.
Donald M.
NJ-10
5
Hayes
Jahana
CT-5
6
Cicilline
David N.
RI-01
7
DeSaulnier
Mark
CA-11
8
Bost
Mike
IL-12
9
Beatty
Joyce
OH-03
10
Hastings
Alcee L.
FL-20
11
Welch
Peter
VT-AL
12
González-Colón
Jenniffer
PR-AL
13
Carson
André
IN-07
14
Panetta
Jimmy
CA-20
15
Larsen
Rick
WA-02
16
Plaskett
Stacey E.
USVI-AL
17
Kind
Ron
WI-03
18
Tipton
Scott R.
CO-03
19
Sánchez
Linda T.
CA-38
20
Veasey
Marc
TX-33
21
Vela
Filemon
TX-34
22
DeLauro
Rosa L.
CT-03
23
DeFazio
Peter A.
OR-04
24
Schakowsky
Jan
IL-09
25
Sires
Albio
NJ-08
26
Pingree
Chellie
ME-01
27
Rush
Bobby L.
IL-01
28
Horsford
Steven
NV-04
29
Johnson
Bill
OH-06
30
Davis
Danny K.
IL-07
31
Lynch
Stephen F.
MA-08
32
Radewagen
Aumua Amata C.
AS-00
33
Pappas
Chris
NH-01
34
Rice
Kathleen M.
NY-04
35
Casten
Sean
IL-06
36
Raskin
Jamie
MD-08
37
Grijalva
Raúl M.
AZ-03
38
Cárdenas
Tony
CA-29
39
Loebsack
Dave
IA-02
40
Lowenthal
Alan S.
CA-47
41
Delgado
Antonio
NY-19
42
Brownley
Julia
CA-26
43
Kuster
Ann McLane
NH-02
44
Speier
Jackie
CA-14
45
Suozzi
Thomas R.
NY-03
46
McGovern
James P.
MA-02
47
Roe, M.D.
David P.
TN-01
48
Davis
Susan A
CA-53
49
Omar
Ilhan
MN-05
50
Perlmutter
Ed
CO-07
51
Takano
Mark
CA-41
52
Ruiz, M.D.
Raul
CA-36
53
Yoho, DVM
Ted S.
FL-03
54
Gosar, D.D.S.
Paul A.
AZ-04
55
Shalala
Donna E.
FL-27
56
Axne
Cynthia
IA-03
57
Costa
Jim
CA-16
58
Lee
Susie
NV-03
59
Lee
Barbara
CA-13
60
Larson
John B.
CT-01
61
Keating
William R.
MA-09
62
Norton
Eleanor Holmes
DC-AL
63
Escobar
Veronica
TX-16
64
King
Peter
NY-02
65
Yarmuth
John
KY-03
66
Chu
Judy
CA-27
67
Brindisi
Anthony
NY-22
68
Soto
Darren
FL-09
69
Lamborn
Doug
CO-05
70
Lipinski
Daniel W.
IL-03
71
Dingell
Debbie
MI-12
72
DeGette
Diana
CO-01
73
García
Jesús G. “Chuy”
IL-04
74
Jackson Lee
Sheila
TX-18
75
Eshoo
Anna G.
CA-18
76
Bustos
Cheri
IL-17
77
Bilirakis
Gus M.
FL-12
78
Craig
Angie
MN-02
79
Richmond
Cedric L.
LA-02
80
Correa
J. Luis
CA-46
81
Peters
Scott
CA-52
82
Cisneros, Jr.
Gilbert R.
CA-39
83
Sewell
Terri A.
AL-07
84
Kim
Andy
NJ-03
85
Tlaib
Rashida
MI-13
86
Rouda
Harley
CA-48
87
Allred
Colin Z.
TX-32
88
Rodgers
Cathy McMorris
WA-05
89
Gabbard
Tulsi
HI-02
90
Espaillat
Adriano
NY-13
91
Luria
Elaine G.
VA-02
92
Johnson
Eddie Bernice
TX-30
93
Jayapal
Pramila
WA-07
94
Doggett
Lloyd
TX-35
95
Peterson
Collin C.
MN-07
96
Marshall, M.D.
Roger
KS-01
97
Scanlon
Mary Gay
PA-05
98
Gallego
Ruben
AZ-07
99
Kelly
Trent
MS-01
100
Katko
John
NY-24
101
Johnson, Jr.
Henry C. "Hank"
GA-04
102
Slotkin
Elissa
MI-08
103
Meeks
Gregory W.
NY-05
104
Davids
Sharice L.
KS-03
105
Crow
Jason
CO-06
106
Krishnamoorthi
Raja
IL-08
107
Brown
Anthony G.
MD-04
108
Sherrill
Mikie
NJ-11
109
Lisa                            
Blunt Rochester
DE-AL





====================================




Support FY21 funding for DoD-CDMRP Gulf War Illness Treatment Research

Sending Office: Honorable Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Sent By: Frances.Diaz
Request for Signature(s)
Deadline to sign on is Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to join us in sending a letter to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee urging continued support in FY 2021 for the treatment-focused Gulf War Illness Research Program within the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).

The Gulf War Illness Research Program is a unique federal program with an unprecedented vision to achieve the “improved health and lives of Veterans who have Gulf War Illness.” The GWIRP continues to succeed in efforts to “fund innovative Gulf War Illness (GWI) research to identify effective treatment and accelerate their clinical application, improve definition and diagnosis, and better understand pathobiology and symptoms.” The GWIRP continues to demonstrate effectiveness in its mission to improve the health and lives of 
Veterans debilitated and suffering from Gulf War Illness. We need to ensure these efforts continue for these Veterans as well as for current and future U.S. forces at risk of similar exposures and outcomes.

By congressional design, the Congressionally-directed Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) is a unique medical research program narrowly focused on identifying treatments and diagnostic markers for Gulf War Illness (GWI).1

The most recent report of the Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC) recommended maintaining funding for this effective treatment-oriented program.

The FY 2020 GWIRP request was supported by 97 offices, including current House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Takano and Ranking Member Dr. Roe.

The FY2020 GWIRP request was supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Veterans for Common Sense, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Blinded Veterans Association (BV A), The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), National Gulf War Resource Center, Burn Pits 360, Sgt. Sullivan Circle, National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition.

The deadline to sign on is Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Please contact Frances Diaz at frances.diaz@, in Rep. Sablan’s office or Remy Fortin at remy.fortin@, in Rep. Bergman’s office for more information or to sign this letter.

Sincerely,


GREGORIO SABLAN                    JACK BERGMAN
Member of Congress                     Member of Congress

=======================================================================================================
March 17, 2020

The Honorable Pete Visclosky
Chairman
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
H-405, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Ken Calvert
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Visclosky and Ranking Member Calvert:

As your Subcommittee begins work on the Fiscal Year 2021 Defense Appropriations Bill, we respectfully request adequate funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). We also thank you for providing the program $22 million in FY 2020.

By congressional design, the GWIRP is a unique medical research program narrowly focused on improving the health and lives of Veterans with Gulf War Illness. Reports by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and government committees have shown that: 1) Gulf War Illness (“GWI”), likely caused by toxic exposures, affects up to one-third of the nearly 700,000 Veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War; and 2) GWI’s debilitating symptoms typically include "some combination of widespread pain, headache, persistent problems with memory and thinking, fatigue, breathing problems, stomach and intestinal symptoms, and skin abnormalities."[1]

The GWIRP is narrowly focused on unraveling GWI’s underlying pathobiology, improving its definition and diagnosis, and developing treatments. While two-thirds of GWIRP-funded studies are still in progress, the growing body of results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals demonstrates steady advances toward the GWIRP’s goals. GWIRP-funded pilot studies shown as promising are now progressing to larger-scale clinical trials. These successes are the direct result of clear, treatment-focused congressional direction, stable appropriations, and effective management. Key recent GWIRP-funded results include:

· The first direct evidence of neuroinflammation in Veterans with GWI,[2] a treatable target.
· Significantly different gut microbiome patterns in GWI, including greater plasma levels of an inflammatory cytokine and associated with significantly more reported GW chemical weapons exposure and GWI symptoms.[3]
· 25 percent reduction in key GWI symptoms by treating GWI with KPAX002, a proprietary combination designed to support mitochondrial function.[4]

Recognizing the GWIRP’s progress, the recommendations in the last Research Advisory Committee report remain instructive: "Congress should maintain its funding to support the effective treatment-oriented [GWIRP].”[5] The discoveries through the GWIRP continue to represent encouraging steps toward achieving the treatment goals articulated by the NAS: “to speed the development of effective treatments, cures, and, it is hoped, preventions" for current and future U.S. forces at risk of similar exposures and outcomes. 

Indeed, the GWIRP has served as a model of how to conduct treatment-oriented research to address a challenging illness and is succeeding where earlier programs failed. Its two-tier peer-reviewed and highly competitive process ensures the independence and value of the results produced. Unlike the VA’s research program, which only funds VA researchers, the GWIRP seeks out and funds the best research by any combination of government, academic, or private-sector researchers and research teams.

We respectfully request you provide the necessary resources in the FY21 Defense Appropriations Bill to continue this vital and effective program and to support its progress into more advanced, larger-scale clinical trials – a well-justified, added cost indicative of the GWIRP’s steady progress. It remains critical to the program's success and accountability that the GWIRP is retained as a stand-alone program within the CDMRP and not be combined as a topic area within broader, less-targeted research programs.

Thank you for your consideration of our request, which is supported by the Association of the United States Navy, Fleet Reserve Association, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Sergeant Sullivan Circle, TREA: The Enlisted Association, Veterans for Common Sense.

Sincerely,

GREGORIO SABLAN          JACK BERGMAN
Member of Congress           Member of Congress


[1] National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, “Gulf War and Health, Volume 8: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War,” 2010; Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013,” 2014.
[2] Zeynab A, Albrecht DS, Bergan C, Akeju O, Clauw DJ, Conby L, Edwards RR, Kim M, Lee YC, Protsenko E, Napadow V, Sullivan K, Loggia ML. (February 2020). In-vivo imaging of neuroinflammation in veterans with Gulf War illnessBrain, Behavior, and Immunityhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.01.020
[3] Janulewicz, Patricia A.; Seth, Ratanesh K.; Carlson, Jeffrey M.; Ajama, Joy; Quinn, Emily; Heeren, Timothy; Klimas, Nancy; Lasley, Steven M.; Horner, Ronnie D.; Sullivan, Kimberly; Chatterjee, Saurabh. (2019). "The Gut-Microbiome in Gulf War Veterans: A Preliminary Report." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 19: 3751. http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193751. See also: “GWIRP-funded project expands exciting gut biome finding for Gulf War Illness
[4] Holodniy M, Kaiser JD. (November 2019). Treatment for Gulf War Illness (GWI) with KPAX002 (methylphenidate hydrochloride + GWI nutrient formula) in subjects meeting the Kansas case definition: A prospective, open-label trial. J. of Psych. Rsch., 118: 14-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.08.003 . See also: “A Prospective Open-Label Clinical Trial of Methylphenidate plus a GWI-Specific Nutrient Formula in Patients with Gulf War Illness and Concentration Disturbances”.
[5] Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013,” 2014.