Tuesday, March 1, 2011

RAC Meeting Spotlights Progress, Problems


This week’s meetings of the VA Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC-GWVI) highlighted significant progress in treatment- and diagnostic-focused research through a large panel discussion with more than dozen active VA and non-VA researchers.

“You do science.  But you’re bringing hope,” I said to the researchers on the panel.

Their research ranges from potential treatments to “diagnostic markers” for ill Gulf War veterans. 

One of the researchers presented advances with a national brain bank to allow for future study of donated brains and spinal cords of Gulf War veterans who die.

At the same time, the meetings shone a spotlight serious lingering problems related to a lack of a research strategic plan and failure to implement much of the recommendations VA’s internal task on Gulf War veterans.

Serious issues remain with a proposed national VA survey of roughly 30,000 Gulf War veterans.  The RAC requested VA to hold off on the survey until the RAC’s recommendations are included.

--Anthony Hardie

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