Monday, May 15, 2017

**URGENT ACTION ALERT** -- 5 Minutes to Help on Gulf War Illness in the SENATE








ACTION NEEDED:   Very specific -- Ask your U.S. Senator to sign onto the "Baldwin "Dear Colleague Letter for Gulf War Illness treatment research funding" (FY18)  



URGENT DEADLINE for sign on's:  Monday, May 22, 2017 (U.S. Senate only)



READ BELOW for more details before calling.





HAS YOUR Senator COSIGNED?  Scroll down for the current list of cosigners (check to see if yours is signed on yet before calling their DC office to request they sign on) AND IF THEY HAVE NOT PLEASE CALL THEM TO ASK THAT THEY DO!



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(91outcomes.com) -  An effort has been launched in the U.S. Senate to continue the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) to develop treatments for Gulf War Illness.  Led by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), a longstanding champion of this program,  this year's push in the Senate is for continued funding for the unique, treatment-focused medical research program aimed at improving Gulf War veterans' health and lives.  


The GWIRP is part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) within the Defense health program.  

VA and scientific estimates show that Gulf War Illness affects between one-fourth and one-third of the veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.  The consensus among Gulf War Illness medical researchers is increasingly clear: With a concerted national effort, effective treatments can likely be found.


In the House, the bipartisan effort for renewed funding was led this year by Rep. Jack Bergman, LtGen, USMC (Ret.) (R-Mich.) and Rep. Gregorio Sablan (I-N. Mar. Is.), and supported by Rep.’s Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) and Tim Walz, CSM, ARNG (Ret.) (D-Minn.) with a total of 83 cosigners. 


Baldwin serves on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, including the subcommittees that determine funding for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs (VA) and has been a longstanding supporter and lead for funding for the program. 

Information below shows what you can do in just five minutes to support this critically important national effort to help our nation's Gulf War veterans.


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STEP-BY STEP, HOW YOU CAN HELP IN JUST 5 MINUTES:


2.  Call his or her Washington, DC office [not their office(s) back in their district or home state] , and ask for the legislative staff person who handles Defense Appropriations.  This is very important to ask for "the staff person who handles Defense Appropriations";  Different staff may handle other Defense and/or Veterans Affairs issues.    
    • If you get their voicemail, leave a detailed voicemail with your specific request (below).
3.  State your name and that you are a constituent, and very briefly (in 1 or 2 sentences at most) state your connection to Gulf War Illness
    • [For example:  "I'm among the one-third of Gulf War veterans veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness".  
    • Or, "I'm the wife/husband/son/daughter/parent of a Gulf War veteran suffering from Gulf War Illness."
4.  State that there is a "Dear Colleague" letter that you are specifically requesting the Congressman/Congresswoman sign onto.  

5.  Provide the name of the "Dear Colleague" letter (there is no bill number -- this is a "Dear Colleague" request to get funding into a bill -- specifically the FY18 Defense Appropriations Act):  
  • (U.S. SENATE)  The "Baldwin Dear Colleague Letter for FY18 Gulf War Illness treatment research funding."  


6.  State that this is to continue funding for a successful, treatment-focused program and there were 83 bipartisan cosigners in the House this year.

7.  State the sign-on deadline (this is a hard deadline):  Monday, May 22, 2017 (U.S. Senate). The Senator will likely want to support the one-fourth to one-third of Gulf War veterans and others suffering from Gulf War Illness.  

[Staff contacts, in case they ask are:  U.S. Senate:  Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Ben Hutterer).]


8.  Ask if you can email the staffer with a short one-pager about the program.  This is very important.  Then right away, email them the link to this document:  

About the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP, FY18):   

https://www.scribd.com/document/348543267/2017-GWIRP-About-the-Gulf-War-Illness-Research-Program-GWIRP-with-Senate-Deadline
9.  Ask that the staff person follow-up with you to let you know the Senator's decision as to whether to sign on.

10.  Thank the staff person for their time.


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AFTER YOUR CALL:

If they say they will sign on, post a comment below this post with the name of the Senator  and the name of the staffer and that they will or will not sign on.  

Follow-up in a day or two to find out the status, if you haven't heard back.


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TIPS:
  • Be polite
  • Be pleasant
  • Be urgent
  • Be respectful
  • Be convincing
  • Be brief
  • Be SPECIFIC with the REQUEST:  Sign onto the "Baldwin Dear Colleague Letter for Gulf War Illness treatment research funding"  
  • VERY IMPORTANT:  Do not argue with, get angry with, or threaten the staffer in any way no matter what their decision is.  There are many reasons why a Senator cannot sign on, and they may even tell you that; just because they cannot sign on does not mean they do not support Gulf War veterans or this program.  For example, the Senator who leads this effort through to the finish line every year in the critically important Conference Committee between the House and Senate versions cannot sign the letter.  So again, Do not argue with, get angry with, or threaten the staffer or the Senator in any way no matter what their decision is


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FINAL COSIGNERS LIST
Last updated Monday, May 23, 2017


Cosigners to the FY18 GWIRP Baldwin Dear Colleague:
  1. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI) -- Senate Lead
  2. Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH)
  3. Sen. Mazie Hirono (HI)
  4. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI)
  5. Sen. Gary Peters (MI)
  6. Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)
  7. Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)
  8. Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
  9. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
  10. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)
  11. Sen. Ed Markey (MA)
  12. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  13. Sen. Ben Cardin (MD)
  14. Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ)
  15. Sen. Brian Schatz (HI)

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ's)

WHAT IS THE GOAL?  The overall goal of the GWIRP is to develop effective treatments for Gulf War Illness.  These veterans were directly affected by their toxic exposures during the 1991 Gulf War and deserve the best efforts our nation can provide to help them.  

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?   
You can email, call, or electronically message your two U.S. Senators who represent you.  See above for "10 quick and easy steps" to help.


WHO IS LEADING THIS FUNDING EFFORT IN CONGRESS?  This is a fully bipartisan effort.  The efforts in the House and Senate are entirely separate from each other.

In the United States Senate, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) is leading the effort for the Senate, as she has in previous years.  (May 22, 2017 sign-on deadline)

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the April 3, 2017 letter cosigned by 83 members of the House was co-led by Rep. Jack Bergman, LTG, USMC (Ret.) (R-Michigan) and Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-U.S. Territory of Northern Mariana Islands); House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tennessee) and Ranking Member Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), previous co-leads, were this year's first House cosigners.    



AT WHAT LEVEL SHOULD THE FUNDING BE SUPPORTED, AND WHY?  The effort is to support the treatment-focused Gulf War Illness CDMRP.  Their effort is calling for Members of Congress to support this important program by signing onto a "Dear Colleague" letter requesting adequate continuation funding for this successful, unique, and important program.  



WHY IS THIS PROGRAM NEEDED?  Reports by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM)2 (pp. 10, 260-64) and the Congressionally-mandated VA Research Advisory Committee (RAC) on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnessesemphasize that “effective treatments, cures, and, it is hoped, preventions” for GWI can “likely be found,” “…through a concerted national effort and rigorous scientific input.” In addition, important discoveries made by the GWIRP may also help protect current and future U.S. military service members at risk of similar toxic exposures. (RAC 2014, pp. 1, 4, 5, 13, 78, 83; IOM 2010, pp. 10, 260-64.)


WHO SUPPORTS THIS PROGRAM?  
The RAC, more than 50 FY15 Independent Budget Veterans’ Service Organizations (IBVSO’s), scientist GWIRP panelists,1,5 and numerous consumer reviewers serving with the GWIRP have expressed strong support for the GWIRP to improve the health and lives of veterans suffering from GWI.   

The FY15 IBVSO’s said the GWI CDMRP, “has made great strides in the
short time it has been operating,” and the IBVSO’s (DAV, PVA, VFW, and 27 others) for the 115th Congress (2017-18) are asking Congress to “…provide sufficient funding to resume robust research to identify effective treatments...”



The program is supported by the nation's leading Veterans Service Organizations.  FY17 funding supporters included:  the American LegionAMVETS; Association of the U.S. Navy (AUSN); Burnpits360; Disabled American Veterans (DAV); Lung Cancer Alliance; National Gulf War Resource Center (NGWRC); National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition (NVGWVC); Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA); Sergeant Sullivan CircleToxic Wounds Task Force; Veterans for Common Sense (VCS); Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW); Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). 
The FY15 Independent Budget Veterans Service Organizations (IBVSO’s, composed of AMVETS, DAV, PVA, VFW, and 53 other organizations that serve veterans) stated that the GWI CDMRP, “has made great strides in the short time it has been operating.” (pp. 126-27)


WHEN SHOULD I CALL MY SENATORS'/CONGRESSPERSON'S OFFICE?  Right away.  The deadline is fast approaching. 



WHEN IS THE DEADLINE?  The sign-on deadline for Senators in the U.S. Senate to sign-on is May 22, 2017.  Typically, their offices need one or more days to secure approval to sign-on.  




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ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS:

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GULF WAR ILLNESS RESEARCH PROGRAM?  The Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP), part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), a Congressionally directed activity funded under the U.S. Department of Defense, has a comprehensive website on the GWI program at:  http://cdmrp.army.mil/gwirp .  The GWIRP also publishes an overview of the program in its GWIRP program booklet.  

The GWIRP also publishes an overview of what is known scientifically about Gulf War Illness:  The Gulf War Illness Landscape .


Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), a leading national veterans' education and advocacy organization, has published the following two documents about the Gulf War Illness Research Program:


WHEN IS THE NEXT FUNDING AVAILABILITY FOR GULF WAR ILLNESS TREATMENT RESEARCH FUNDS?  The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Defense (U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command) provides information for prospective researchers, including how to apply.
Funding announcements are typically made in the late Spring of each year, but timing may vary quite a bit from year to year, depending upon Congressional appropriations.  


WHAT IS RECENT RESEARCH SAYING ABOUT GULF WAR ILLNESS?  
Recent research shows that chemical exposures are causally associated with Gulf War Illness.  Psychiatric causes have been ruled out.  


This paper reviews the recent medical literature on the health of 1991 Gulf War veterans, focusing particularly on the central nervous system and on effects of Gulf War toxicant exposures:


Another important advance for finding treatments for Gulf War Illness, funded by the GWIRP, was published in March 2017:


WHAT DOES THE "DEAR COLLEAGUE" LETTER ACTUALLY SAY?  
A copy of the letter currently being circulated in the Senate is here (a signed copy will be posted once it is complete, after the May 22 sign-on deadline):


A copy of the actual bipartisan April 3, 2017 letter that 83 Members of the House signed is here:  https://www.scribd.com/document/344176303/FY18-Defense-CDMRP-Gulf-War-Illness-Research-Group-Letter-Bergman-Sablan-Roe-Walz


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--Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes.com Author and Gulf War veteran advocate.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Online Study of Gulf War Illness Treatments Tried Seeking Participants



(91outcomes.com - May 5, 2017) -- An online study led by the University of California-San Diego is seeking 1991 Gulf War veteran participants.  

The study, composed of a series of online surveys, asks about treatments tried for Gulf War Illness -- not just what has helped, but also what has made symptoms worse.  

The study is funded by the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP), part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs funded and directed by Congress under the Department of Defense health program.  

Participation is done entirely online and can be completed from home.  There is a small financial incentive for completing each survey, but the most important aspect of participating is providing important information to medical researchers collecting an analyzing this data of what helps and also what makes 1991 Gulf War veterans with Gulf War Illness worse.  This in turn may assist other veterans also suffering from Gulf War Illness.

The study's recruitment information is as follows:

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https://www.facebook.com/UCSDGolombResearch/photos/a.1056346657795763.1073741830.852701274826970/1286835648080195/?type=3&theater

The UC San Diego Department of Medicine is looking for Gulf War veterans to participate in an online survey study to learn from the 25-year treatment experience of veterans affected by Gulf War illness.

The study involves up to 8 surveys. Surveys will take about 0.5-2 hours to complete, but you can start/stop at your convenience. 


$5 gift cards to either Amazon.com or Starbucks will be rewarded upon completion of each survey (up to $40 total).

Contact our office for more information: 1-858-558-4950, x210, x203, or x201 or 
golombresearch@ucsd.edu


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Monday, May 1, 2017

Gulf War Illness Study Finds New Evidence of Lipid Dysfunction in Linked Animal, Human data


(91outcomes.com - May 1, 2017) -- A newly published study has found lipid changes and chronic inflammation in a first-ever published study linking data from animal models of Gulf War toxic exposures and Gulf War veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.  

The study, funded by the Congressionally-directed Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Department of Defense health program, for the first time links data from Gulf War veterans participating in two different Gulf War Illness clinical research studies -- at Boston University and Nova Southeastern University near Miami -- with data from two distinct animal models of Gulf War Illness.  

The animal models of Gulf War exposures were conducted at the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Fla. and Texas A&M University.  In the GWIRP-funded studies, laboratory animals were exposed to Gulf War toxins including organophosphate pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide (contained in Gulf War nerve agent protective pills).  As many as 140,000 U.S. troops were exposed to low-level sarin, another organophosphate and chemical warfare nerve agent, following demolitions of sarin-filled Iraqi munitions at an Iraqi bunker complex near Khamisiyah, Iraq in early March 1991, shortly after the Desert Storm ceasefire.

The newly published findings suggest a little before explored area of concern in Gulf War Illness -- changes in lysophospholipids, small molecules important in cellular signaling.  According to a 2008 study of the biological effects of lysophospholipids, "specific lysophospholipid receptors are required for proper cardiovascular, immune, respiratory, and reproductive system development and function. Lysophospholipid receptors may also have specific roles in cancer and other diseases." (2008, Rivera & Chun).  

The findings also added further evidence to a growing body of scientific studies suggesting chronic inflammation as an underlying component in Gulf War Illness.  

While science is a step-by-step process, this new link between animal and human data is groundbreaking, including linking two different animal models of Gulf War Illness with the ill Gulf War veterans.   

Most significantly the discovery that lysophospholipids appear to be dysregulated in both humans and animals with Gulf War toxic exposures has broad implications for biomarker and treatment development for Gulf War Illness patients.  

While new treatments for Gulf War Illness based on this discovery may very well still be years away, it appears that science is edging closer to actually developing them -- progress that would not be possible without the clear Congressional treatment development guidance and continued financial support of this unique federal treatment development program.  

The study results were published in the April 28, 2017 edition of PLosOne medical journal.  Among the key researchers were study author Tanja Emmerich and Zuchra ZakirovaGhania Ait-GhezalaLaila AbdullahJames EvansGary LacoGogce Crynan, Fiona Crawford, and Michael Mullen of the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Fla.; Ashok ShettyBharathi Hattiangady and GA Shetty of the Texas A&M Health Sciences College of Medicine; Nancy Klimas of the GWIRP-funded Gulf War Illness Consortium at Nova Southeastern University near Miami; Kimberly Sullivan of the GWIRP-funded Gulf War Illness Consortium at Boston University;

-Anthony Hardie, 
91outcomes.com

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SOURCE:  PubMed (PLoS One), April 28, 2017, Tanja Emmerich, Fiona Crawford, et al.

ARCHIVED ABSTRACT: 


 2017 Apr 28;12(4):e0176634. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176634. eCollection 2017.

Phospholipid profiling of plasma from GW veterans and rodent models to identify potential biomarkers of Gulf War Illness.

Abstract


Gulf War Illness (GWI), which affects at least one fourth of the 700,000 veterans deployed to the Gulf War (GW), is characterized by persistent and heterogeneous symptoms, including pain, fatigue and cognitive problems. As a consequence, this illness remains difficult to diagnose. Rodent models have been shown to exhibit different symptomatic features of GWI following exposure to particular GW agents (e.g. pyridostigmine bromide, permethrin and DEET) and/or stress. Preclinical analyses have shown the activation of microglia and astroglia as a pathological hallmark in these mouse and rat models. Although much has been learned in recent years from these different rodent models and independent clinical studies, characterization studies to identify overlapping features of GWI in animals and humans have been missing. Thus, we aimed to identify biomarkers that co-occur in the plasma of rodent models of GWI and human GWI patients. We observed increases of multiple phospholipid (PL) species across all studied cohorts. Furthermore, these data suggested dysfunction within ether and docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid containing PL species in relation to GWI. As these PL species play a role in inflammatory processes, these findings suggest a possible role for inflammatory imbalance in GWI. Overall, we show that the peripheral lipid disturbances are present both in human GWI patients and in the preclinical rodent models of GWI, highlighting the importance of lipidomics as a potential platform for further biomarker discovery and supporting the value of GW agent exposed models of GWI.




PMID:
  
28453542
  
DOI:
  
10.1371/journal.pone.0176634

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

U.S. House Members resoundingly call for continuation of Gulf War Illness treatment research funding


(91outcomes.com - April 5, 2017) -- Nearly one-fifth of the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week resoundingly called for continuation of federally funded Gulf War Illness treatment research.  The effort came at the request of Gulf War veterans, supported by ten veterans service organizations and led by Veterans for Common Sense.  

In an April 3 "Dear Colleague" letter co-led by Rep. Jack Bergman, LtGen, USMC (Ret.) (R-MI) and Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-MP) to the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense, eighty-three (83) cosigners requested Fiscal Year 2018 funding to continue the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP), part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) funded under the U.S. Department of Defense health program.

The GWIRP is a unique treatment development medical research program initiated by Congress in FY06 to support medical research of exceptional scientific merit related to the deployment health effects of the 1991 Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm).  

Among the cosigners this year were Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-MI) and Rep. Tim Walz, CSM, ARNG (Ret.) (D-MN), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee (HVAC).  Roe and Walz co-led recent prior years' efforts to renew the program.  

A parallel effort is being led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).  

The full list of House cosigners is here, and the cosigned House letter is below.

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NEED AND SUPPORT FOR THE GWIRP

Landmark reports by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM)[i] (pp. 10, 260-64) and the Congressionally-mandated VA Research Advisory Committee (RAC) on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses[ii] (pp. 1, 4, 5, 13, 78, 83) emphasize that “effective treatments, cures, and, it is hoped, preventions for GWI can likely be found,” “…through a concerted national effort and rigorous scientific input.” 2 (p. 10)   In addition, important discoveries made by the GWIRP may also help protect current and future U.S. military service members at risk of similar toxic exposures. (RAC, pp. 1, 4, 5, 13, 78, 83; IOM, pp. 10, 260-64.)

ABOUT GULF WAR ILLNESS (GWI)
GWI is characterized by multiple, diverse symptoms that typically include chronic headache, widespread pain, cognitive difficulties, debilitating fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory symptoms, sleep problems, and other abnormalities that could not be explained by established medical diagnoses or standard laboratory tests. The population of Veterans affected by GWI is a subset of the nearly 700,000 U.S. Warfighters who served during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Studies indicate that approximately 25-32% of Gulf War Veterans continue to experience symptoms associated with their deployment.”1  “Scientific research . . . supports and further substantiates . . . that Gulf War illness is a serious physical disease, affecting at least 175,000 veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War, that resulted from hazardous exposures in the Gulf War theater.”3 (p.1)
Studies and surveys reviewed in the most recent (2014) RAC report indicated an elevated prevalence of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)3(pp.23-25) and elevated rates of diagnosed migraines, seizures, gastrointestinal conditions, respiratory conditions and skin disorders among Gulf War veterans, and doubled brain cancer3(pp.23-26) death rates among veterans potentially exposed to chemical warfare agents detonated at an Iraqi munitions complex at Khamisiyah, Iraq.  


-Anthony Hardie,
91outcomes.com




CITATIONS:
[1] Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) website, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, U.S Department of Defense (DoD): http://cdmrp.army.mil/gwirp
[2] Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Academy of Sciences, “Gulf War and Health, Volume 8: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War,” Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2010. www.nap.edu/catalog/12835/gulf-war-and-health-volume-8-update-of-health-effects
[3] Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, May 2014.
[i] Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Academy of Sciences, “Gulf War and Health, Volume 8: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War,” Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2010. www.nap.edu/catalog/12835/gulf-war-and-health-volume-8-update-of-health-effects
[ii] Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, May 2014. www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/RACReport2014Final.pdf


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