Monday, June 29, 2009

VA Notes Preliminary Research Success, Justifies Violation of Charter Requirements

Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes

(Boston, Mass. - June 29, 2009) In a meeting of the Congressionally chartered Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, Dr. William Goldberg of the federal VA's Office of Research and Development provided an overview of the VA's recent
Request for Applications for research funding for Gulf war Illness Treatments.

He also noted the recent success small treatment trial for Gulf War Illness.

The VA-funded treatment trial involved the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine in Gulf War veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness. While only "about four to eight veterans" participated in the study, the results were significant, albeit preliminary. The findings showed improved fatigue and cognition in Gulf War veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.

Responding to a question from RAC Chair Jim Binns regarding why VA failed to adhere to the RAC's Charter, which requires that VA's research funding announcements must be provided to the RAC prior to issuance, Dr. Goldberg stated that the VA had to provide the Request for Applications quickly, and "literally wrote it in a matter of days."

According to the Charter of the Congressionally Chartered advisory committee, written consistent with the federal law creating the body,
Applications for the RFA are due July 15, 2009 and are accepted only from VA researchers. According to Dr. Goldberg, the VA therefore made the determination to make the RFA available only internally on the VA's Interanet, and not publicly on the Internet.

The RFA was made public on 91outcomes on June 25.

The Committee shall review all proposed [emphasis added] Federal research plans, initiatives, procurements, grant programs, and other activities in support of research projects on health consequences of military service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The Committee, consistent with law, shall have access to all VA documents and other sources of information it finds relevant to such review.

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