Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Promising New Treatment for GWI Sinusitis Funded for CDMRP Study


(  A new treatment to help relieve some of the worst of the chronic sinusitis symptoms that affect Gulf War Illness patients has been funded for an important study by the acclaimed Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).

The study is being led by Dr. David Rabago, M.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is expected to begin accepting study subjects this year, once all the various study protocols have been approved.

The study is of a nasal spray, called Xlear, which is available over the counter though it’s often difficult to find.

Please contact me at if you’re interested in participating.

Below is more information on this promising new treatment.

--Anthony Hardie



Common Questions – Xlear Nasal Spray

Are there any clinical studies showing how effective Xlear is in preventing upper respiratory infections and other problems in the upper airway?

(Answer by Dr. A.H. "Lon" Jones D.O.) While there is clinical experience and clinical trials are being done, they are not pursued as much as they are in pharmaceutical trials because the results could not be used. This demands an explanation as to why not.

Xlear works like soap in the nose. Everyone knows that soap is the most effective way we know to prevent the spread of communicable disease. We know this because our doctors tell us, the U.S.A. Center for Disease Control tells us and the television tells us. But there have been no clinical trials to prove this claim.

Soap and water wash bacteria from the hands so they don’t get into our eyes when we rub them, or our nose. It is a very effective means of blocking the spread of infectious disease, but for the soap industry to make the health claims that are clearly appropriate would make soap into a drug and under the control of the Food and Drug Administration.

Like soap and water for the hands, Xlear is just an effective and natural way of cleaning the nose. It is not a drug and the company marketing it makes no drug claims. But if you are handling bacteria all day, and we all are whether we like it or not, you may find it useful to wash your hands occasionally; and if you are breathing contaminated air you may find washing your nose just as beneficial.

How do you pronounce "XLEAR"?
The "X" in the name Xlear is representative of xylitol, the primary active ingredient in Xlear Nasal Spray. The proper pronunciation is "CLEAR".

What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural sugar. It is derived from sources such as fruits, vegetables, corn stalks/husks/cobs, birch wood, nutshells, etc. Xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol and small amounts are produced in the human body.
Xylitol has been shown in numerous clinical studies to provide substantial health benefits to the user. The chemical structure of xylitol prevents bacteria from metabolising and digesting the xylitol after ingesting it, reducing the production of by-products that enable the bacteria to adhere to nasal tissues.

What is Xlear Nasal Spray?
Xlear Nasal Spray is an all-natural product that helps the body's natural cleaning process wash away bacteria, pollens, dander, moulds, allergens and other irritants that cause nasal congestion. Xlear contains xylitol, a naturally occurring substance and one of bacteria's natural enemies. When certain harmful bacteria enter the body, they attach to the membranes of the nose and throat. Xlear Nasal Spray merely flushes harmful bacteria and pollutants away.

What are the benefits of Xlear Nasal Spray?
Over 90% of all infection-causing bacteria enter through the nose. Clinical studies have shown that Xlear Nasal Spray with xylitol, when used regularly can substantially reduce sinus and upper respiratory infections including otitis media (middle ear infections) by reducing the ability of harmful bacteria, pollens, allergens and other irritants from adhering to nasal tissue.

Is it safe for children/infants/ or use during pregnancy?
Xlear Nasal Spray is all-natural, drug free and non-habit forming.* Xlear contains purified water, saline and grapefruit seed extract-all found in over-the-counter nasal moisteners that have been used for years. Xylitol is the key ingredient that makes Xlear Nasal Spray so revolutionary and effective.
* [For some strange reason, in South Africa we are not allowed to make the claims - “drug-free” or “all-natural” - unless you literally pick a peach and squeeze it into a bottle! Saline solution is made from purified water and salt, both of which are natural. GSE is extracted from Grapefruit seeds, also natural, and xylitol is produced every day in your own body! An unnatural drug? You make up your own mind...]

The World Health Organization and the FDA have given xylitol their safest ratings for food additives. Babies and small children can use Xlear Nasal Spray without restriction. If you have any concerns or questions before taking this or any other over-the-counter product, consult first with your physician.

Will it interfere with any other medication that I am taking?
Xlear Nasal Spray contains only natural ingredients and no negative interactions are known. However, always consult with your physician if you have any questions before using this or any other over-the-counter product.

How is it used?
Tilt your head forward and seal off the nasal passage by closing off one nostril. Close your mouth and give the bottle a quick, firm squeeze, inhaling deeply to pull the mist into the sinus cavities. Do this once or twice for each nostril. Xlear Nasal Spray should be administered to infants and children in the same way. If the infant or child is resistant to this method of application, have him or her lie down and place two drops of Xlear Nasal Spray in each nostril.

How often should I use Xlear Nasal Spray?
For the first 2 to 4 weeks of Xlear Nasal Wash usage, adults and children should administer it 3 to 4 times a day. After the 1st month, it should be used twice a day as a preventative measure.

For infants and small children who are in day care, exposed to infectious bacteria or suffer from chronic middle ear infection, Xlear Nasal Spray should be administered 3 to 4 times a day. Please click here to read an article on Child Ear Infections by Gerry Bozeman, a Supervisory Registered Play Therapist.

What can I expect after I begin using Xlear Nasal Spray?
Antihistamines and decongestants are widely used for temporary relief of nasal stuffiness and other symptoms of sinus problems and infections - turning off the body's natural washing process. This provides temporary relief but soon wears off and sets up a cycle of dependence. Xlear Nasal Spray thins the mucous and assists the body's natural process of clearing the nasal passages and washing away bacteria, allergens, pollen and other pollutants. When you begin using Xlear, you may experience an increase in mucous flow, indicating that the washing process is taking place.

Where can I purchase Xlear Nasal Spray?

Will the Xlear Nasal Spray freeze in the mail during shipping?
The xylitol and saline in the Xlear lower the freezing point to about 5-10 degrees below zero degrees Celsius. Freezing does not affect Xlear. (Fortunately, we live in Sunny South Africa, so freezing is unlikely to occur, even if you do live in Sutherland!)

What is the shelf life of Xlear Nasal Spray?
The minimum shelf life for Xlear Nasal Spray is two years.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vote to Fund Neuro-Immune Disease and CFS Research

The Chase Community Giving Foundation is currently sponsoring a Vote to Fund charities, with $500,000 to the most popular!

You can vote for up to five charities using Facebook!

Please take a moment to vote for these two, today – the contest ends tomorrow, May 25, 2011 so hurry!

Neuro-Immune Disease Research

Chase Community Giving

The Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) was created to answer a critical need for discovery and medical treatments for those with serious illnesses that impact the body and the brain.

These often debilitating and life-long diseases, including M.E., CFS, fibromyalgia, post Lyme disease, GWI and autism, have too few medical solutions. WPI continues to make significant strides through the work of our innovative research program. Translating novel research into effective patient treatments for millions around the world will begin with the opening of our 10,000 sq. ft. medical facility.

Here we can engage in revealing clinical trials and provide onsite care to those who are unable to pay. We require money for initial expenses and to establish a patient fund. WPI’s commitment to discovery has already inspired much hope worldwide. Now it is time to put hope into action by offering meaningful patient care to these underserved populations.



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research


Chase Community Giving

In spite of its odd-sounding name, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is as disabling as cancer, multiple sclerosis and late HIV disease. As many as 17 million children and adults around the world have CFS, and we still don’t understand its causes.

To end the suffering CFS inflicts, the CFIDS Association of America is building a critical mass of rigorous research that validates the biological basis for CFS and leads to better ways to diagnose and treat it. We’re putting research first to achieve the vision of a future in which the life-altering disability, stigma and isolation of CFS no longer exist.

Your vote will help us award grants to support new research studies exploring diagnostics and treatments; expand our SolveCFS BioBank with more samples and clinical information on patients and healthy volunteers; and build a data-sharing platform to help researchers aggregate and analyze information using powerful bioinformatics tools. Based in Charlotte, NC, our work has worldwide impact.



If the links above don’t work, then Here’s how to vote:
#1.Go to the Chase Community Giving Facebook page:
#2. "Like" this page
#3. Then click here
#4. And then VOTE! by voting here


Please forward this message to everyone you know.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Five Ways to Effectively Treat Chronic Pain Symptoms

( -- Chronic pain can be debilitating.  Sadly, it affects tens of thousands of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffering from Gulf War Illness and related chronic health conditions.  Worst of all, many of these patients report not receiving effective treatments for these debilitating symptoms.

There are many ways of treating pain beyond over the counter NSAIDs like Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin, which are often reported to not help at all when dealing with debilitating chronic pain.

And, before resorting to the effective, but also addictive and potentially mind-numbing narcotic or opioid controlled substance prescription pain drugs like Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, or even Morphine and its derivatives, there are a lot of other options.

1.  For fibromyalgia, a presumptive service-connected condition for Gulf War veterans, there are now several approved prescription medications that have been proven to help many affected. 

These are:

  • Savella (Milnacipran HCl);
  •  Lyrica (Pregabalin), and
  • Cymbalta (Duloxetine). 

2. Neuropathic and neurologic pain (including burning pain, tingling, twitching, numbness, buzzing, electric shock feelings, parasthesias, Restless Leg, etc.) is increasingly being reported in many Gulf War veterans (including myself). 

In fact, one current CDMRP study is investigating the prevalence of Small Fiber Peripheral Neuropathy in Gulf War veterans with chronic pain in their extremities, likes feet, legs, hands, and/or arms.

In addition to trying the prescription drugs listed above, neuropathic and neurologic pain are often successfully treated with a number of types of prescription medications normally prescribed for Parkinson's Disease (PD) called non-ergoline dopamine agonists

Not only do these medications often effectively help keep these terrible neuro symptoms at bay, they also can have the welcome side effect of countering the negative sexual function side effects caused by some of the other medications listed here.

The non-ergoline dopamine agonists include:

  • Ropinirole (Requip, Ropark, Adartrel, Ropinotergotirole);
  • Rotigotine (Neupro); and
  • Pramipexole (Mirapex, Mirapexin, Sifrol).

Additionally, medications that affect GABA, a brain chemical, may help. In addition to Lyrica (Pregabalin), listed above, this includes:

  • Gabapentin (Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Neurontin, Nupentin)

3.  Depression and Anxiety.  Surprisingly to many people, drugs to treat depression and anxiety affect the same parts of the brain involved in some types of pain and so may help relieve pain as well. 

Tricylcic antidepressants (TCAs), including Amytriptyline (Elavil, Endep, Dohme, Sharpe), are often prescribed for fibromyalgia and neurologic pain before trying the more advanced (and more expensive) other treatments listed above.

SSRI’s, which affect the Serotoin levels in the brain that are also known to be associated with pain, may also be helpful. 

4.  Sleep.  Finally, getting restful sleep is critically important to keeping pain at bay and keeping other GWI symptoms at their minimum. 

One medication being used frequently off-label in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to help ensure restful sleep is Quetiapine (Seroquel).  

This medication is also sometimes prescribed to help with Restless Leg Syndrome.  

I take it too, and while there are definitely side effects, I’ll take the trade off any day.

5.  Combinations of these.  Like for many people with chronic pain, in my case a combination of several of these -- plus a LOT of rest and carefully safeguarding against any form of physical or emotional stress -- is what helps keep the pain and neuro symptoms at bay.

For me, Seroquel has been a life saver in getting me to sleep, keeping me asleep, and waking up feeling rested again after nearly two decades of not feeling rested after my terribly fragmented sleep.  I combat the weight gain with an over the counter supplement called CLA, available online from

And the PD medications are genuinely effective in keeping my worst neuro burning and other symptoms at a minimum.  If I miss just one day, wow am I reminded how well they work with the immediate recurrence of the worst of the neuro symptoms!

--Anthony Hardie

Friday, May 13, 2011

UPI: Sand Contaminated with Heavy Metals, Bacteria, Fungi May Have Caused Illness in Some Gulf War Troops


The UPI is reporting a news story that microfine sand particulate matter may be at the root of some Gulf War veterans’ illnesses.

According to the story:

U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Lyles, chairman of medical sciences and biotechnology at the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and colleagues found dust particles collected in Iraq and Kuwait contain 37 metals, including aluminum, lead, manganese, strontium and tin -- heavy metals linked to neurological disorders, cancer, respiratory ailments, depression and heart disease, USA Today reported. 

The dust contains 147 different kinds of bacteria, as well as fungi, the scientists say.

Read more:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

VA: Personalized Medicine and the Million Veteran Program

Personalized Medicine and the Million Veteran Program

By Timothy O'LearyMay 4, 2011

Imagine your next visit to the doctor’s. After reviewing your health history and your VA electronic medical record, she says: “Your blood pressure medicine isn’t working quite as well as I would like, but I know what will work for you!”

How can she be so certain?

The answer could lie in a new VA Research initiative that will help clinicians personalize medical treatment. Called the Million Veteran Program, the initiative is being launched today on a national scale as part of VA Research Week. Through the anticipated participation of as many as one million Veteran volunteers, MVP will help researchers better understand the effects that genes have on health and illness, with the ultimate objective of improving Veterans’ health care. By collecting, analyzing, and comparing a rich mix of Veteran patient data—genetic profile, health history, lifestyle–MVP will help customize health care in a way that was once unimaginable, bringing us closer to personalized medicine for Veterans, and ultimately, all Americans.

It must be emphasized that MVP is first and foremost a partnership between Veterans and VA. As Dr. Joel Kupersmith noted earlier this week in VAntage Point, it is an example of the many types of research collaborations we celebrate as part of Research Week.

Over the next five to seven years, Veterans who choose to participate in MVP will help to create the world’s largest research database of genetic, military exposure, and health information. This database, built on a foundation of protecting Veteran privacy, will be used for studies that lead to new ways of preventing and treating illnesses in Veterans and all Americans. As part of this research partnership, Veterans are being asked to provide a blood sample, from which their DNA will be extracted; complete a health information survey; and allow access to their medical record. Using the data collected, researchers will be able to study how genetic variations, environmental factors, and military service are associated with illness and health.

VA has been conducting genomic research for a number of years, and genetic tests are already used clinically, for example, to determine if Veterans who have blood clots in the legs are predisposed to developing them again, and to help diagnose and treat colon and breast cancers and other diseases. Importantly, MVP will provide a foundation upon which VA investigators can design and conduct future studies that use genetic, environmental, and military service information to help prevent disease and improve medical care.

Three factors are key and cannot be overemphasized. First, participation in MVP is entirely voluntary. Further, a decision to participate, or not participate, will not in any way affect Veterans’ access to health care or benefits.

Second, as I mentioned earlier, data security is a top priority. Samples collected from Veterans for MVP will be labeled with a code instead of their name, address, date of birth or social security number. Researchers who are allowed to analyze these samples will not have access to this type of personal information.

Third, this research will be carried out in a culturally sensitive manner that respects ALL Veterans and their ethnic and cultural identity.

MVP is being rolled out in phases and will ultimately be open to participation by all Veterans receiving care in the VA health care system. Today there are more than 20 sites, with more coming online each month.

You can learn more about MVP at Thursday’s Research Forum, when I moderate a panel on this topic beginning at 10:00am. I hope you’ll consider joining us in Room 230 VACO, or listen via internal broadcast.

In addition to his role as Deputy CRADO, Dr. O’Leary, is Director, Office of Clinical Science Research and Development (CSR&D. His clinical and research expertise is in the use of molecular genetics for diagnosis and treatment of disease.

--SOURCE:  VA VAntage Point,