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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Comments from 91outcomes readers


Editor’s Note:  Please consider adding your own comments about your own experiences, which may be able to help others from our Gulf War Veteran community.


“Thank You for this web site it has helped so many veterans.  I am trying to stay positive about my current health condition.”  -K.H.


“Please let me know if this is a problem with other vets that were part of the Persian gulf war.  I was diagnosed about seven years ago with diabetes and have managed it very well with oral mediations.  Just recently out of the blue I get told by a VA doc my testosterone is critically low and I now need two testosterone shots a month, so I do it.  My body has reacted bad to the affects since testosterone is a natural sugar my diabetes is going out of control and they tell me I now have to be put on insulin.  This does not paint a pretty picture for any kind of future, and I am quite sure it is all do to the gulf war the shots the pesticides the fires and any chemical/biological exposure.  Thanks for the time you put in to this web site and the fact that you were there as well, looking forward to your reply.”    -J.S., CW2 U.S. Army Retired


“You have so eloquently captured the essence of what my life has been like in your most recent blog!  I will print it and use it to explain what Gulf War Illness is like for me.  Thank you!
“PS  You also scare the pants off me for the future.”


My name is J.D. I also am a GW vet. Currently I have an illness called sarcoidosis, I need to know if any other veterans are suffering with this illness and if so are they able to get compensated from the VA.   -J.D.

U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Organizes and Announces Oversight Plan


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held its organizational meeting, and approved committee rules, subcommittee membership, and the oversight plan for the 112th Congress.
“I am honored to be chairing this Committee at such a critical time for our nation and its veterans,” commented Chairman of the Full Committee Jeff Miller (FL-01).  “It will be the top priority of this Committee to ensure stringent oversight over veterans’ programs.  We must ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently to provide the best services and world class health care to nation’s warriors and their families.”
“I am also proud of the Committee’s bipartisan oversight plan that lays out an aggressive agenda that includes 79 specific items,” continued Miller.  “I consider this plan a basic blueprint for our oversight activities but, it is not exclusive and I expect to expand on it throughout the Congress.” 
A copy of the oversight plan can be found by clicking HERE.

The Committee also approved Subcommittee membership including Chair and Ranking positions. 

This list is as follows:

Full Committee
Majority Members                                                                      
  1. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman                                                     
  2. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Vice-Chairman                                       
  3. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)                                                                  
  4. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)                                                             
  5. David P. Roe (R-TN)                                                               
  6. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY)                                                       
  7. Jeff Denham (R-CA)                                                                 
  8. Bill Flores (R-TX)                                                                      
  9. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)                                                            
  10. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
  11. Jon Runyan (R-NJ)
  12. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)

Minority Members 

  1. Bob Filner (D-CA), Ranking Democratic Member
  2. Corinne Brown (D-FL)
  3. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
  4. Mike Michaud (D-ME)
  5. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)  
  6. Bruce Braley (D-IA)
  7. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
  8. D-Vacancy
  9. D-Vacancy

Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs

  1. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Chair                                                         
  2. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)                                                             
  3. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY)                                                       
  4. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) 
  5. Vacancy-R  
  6. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Ranking Democratic Member                                                       
  7. Vacancy-D
  8. Vacancy-D
  9. Vacancy-D

Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

  1. Marlin Stutzman (IN), Chair                                           
  2. Gus Bilirakis (FL)                                                                  
  3. Bill Johnson (OH)                                                                 
  4. Tim Huelskamp (KS)
  5. Jeff Denham (CA)
  6. Bruce Braley (IA), Ranking Democratic Member
  7. Vacancy-D
  8. Vacancy-D

 Subcommittee on Health

  1. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Chair                                           
  2. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)                                                                 
  3. Dan Benishek (R-MI)                                                               
  4. Jeff Denham (CA) 
  5. Jon Runyan (NJ)                                                                    
  6. Vacancy-R
  7. Vacancy-R
  8. Michael Michaud (D-ME), Ranking Democratic Member
  9. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
  10. Silvestre Reyes (TX)                                                         
  11. Vacancy-D
  12. Vacancy-D

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

  1. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Chair                                                        
  2. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)                                                                  
  3. Phil Roe (R-TN)                                                                         
  4. Dan Benishek (R-MI)                                                                
  5. Bill Flores (R-TX)
  6. Vacancy-R
  7. Vacancy-D
  8. Vacancy-D
  9. Vacancy-D
  10. Vacancy-D

For more news from the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, please go to: 

Friday, January 21, 2011

El Paso Times: Vets celebrate 20th Gulf War anniversary

Written by John Hall \ El Paso Times

(FORT BLISS – El Paso Times) -- Twenty years ago, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Howell's unit was the first Patriot missile battery to intercept and shoot down an Iraqi Scud missile in the Gulf War.

Howell was among the several Gulf War veterans and former members of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who attended a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the start of the war on Thursday at Fort Bliss' Centennial Club.

"We got a hostile Scud missile coming in our direction, in our grid that we were defending, so our (tactical control assistant and tactical control officer) did what they were supposed to do. After they verified it was a hostile missile, they fired," Howell said. "It wasn't to make history; they just fired to do the right thing, doing their job."

The next morning they verified that they'd brought the missile down. Two days later, Howell said, they found out that their battery had been the first to bring down an enemy missile when journalists started showing up and asking how they felt.

"There was jubilation realizing that missile we trained on at Fort Bliss actually worked the way they were supposed to work. Everyone was thrilled," Howell said.

A first sergeant at the time, Howell said he did what he could to counsel soldiers who were facing combat for the first time.

"It was the first time they'd been in combat, so everybody was upset, so I tried to do what I could to assure them that everything would be all right, even though I didn't know," Howell said.

Hundreds of current soldiers from the brigade attended the luncheon, which featured retired Maj. Gen. Joseph Garrett as the keynote speaker and a 30-minute documentary produced by the brigade.

Garrett recalled deploying to the Middle East for Operation Desert Shield with a Patriot missile system, then brand-new and largely untested.

"That was a new technology. If the war had started six months earlier, we would have had no capability against incoming missiles. Our soldiers trained and learned the system while they were over there," Garrett said. "In many ways I think 11th Brigade's work with the Patriot missile in the Gulf War plus the work of other Patriot units stationed in Israel really showed there was a great potential for the United States to develop effective systems against these kids of threats."

Also a Vietnam veteran, Garrett said that the amount of support his soldiers received while serving overseas was incredible.

"The outpouring of support from the community and the general public was fantastic," Garrett said. "They knew that the American people and the El Paso community was behind what they were doing and that means an awful lot when you are deployed and facing combat like we were."

For retired Command Sgt. Maj. William Doctor, who served as the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer in the 11th Brigade during the war, the commemoration was an opportunity to reconnect with soldiers he served with.

"To gather again with friends, soldiers you served with, is just outstanding," Doctor said. The event gave him the chance "to renew old friendships after 20 years, to see those you admired 20 years ago and still admire them to this day and forever, really, because that's the kind of family atmosphere we had."

John Hall may be reached at; 546-6371.

Source:  El Paso Times,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MSNBC: 20 years after, Bush defends Gulf War as 'moral'


Newly released files show Hussein tried to broker last-minute peace deal

Written by MSNBC

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(COLLEGE STATION, Texas – MSNBC) — Former President George H.W. Bush defended the decision to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in the first Gulf War on Thursday and said his own adviser's criticism of his son's policies and invasion of Iraq in 2003 didn't bother him.

Bush said disagreements on policies "go with the territory" as president.

Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser under the elder Bush, maintained in the run-up to the invasion that it wasn't clear that Hussein was part of the global terrorism network

"You can't worry about that," Bush told NBC News anchor Brian Williams in a roundtable discussion on the 20th anniversary of the start of the war. "You can't worry about the differences. They're bound to happen, bound to take place."

Former President George H.W. Bush, Scowcroft and and other key members of his foreign policy team gathered at Texas A&M University before an expected audience of several thousand people, including Gulf War veterans, to discuss the conflict, which started Jan. 17, 1991.

Asked about the selling of the war, and the opinions of some that it was about protecting oil supplies, Bush told NBC News it was a moral war.

Morality of war
"I think (economics) was vitally important, but I don't think that was the whole message by a longshot," Bush said. "It was the immorality of a big country — with the fourth-largest army in the world — taking over a member state of the U.N., just brutally taking it over."

James Baker, secretary of state under Bush, said it was "appropriate to use all the arguments" in favor of the war. "We were doing the right thing," he said.

Bush said there was never a thought of extending the war by going into Baghdad after Hussein, and no one in leadership advocated it.

"We had an objective. The objective was to kick this guy out of Kuwait and we did it. And we formed a coalition to help conceive that. It didn't enter my mind that we should do more."

Colin Powell, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the elder Bush and secretary of state under George W. Bush, said the attacks on 9-11 "fundamentally changed the calculus by which you measure Saddam Hussein and what capabilities he might have."

"From my perspective I looked at Saddam Hussein differently after 9-11 and before 9-11," reiterated Dick Cheney, defense secretary during Gulf War I and vice president during Gulf War II. "I was bound and determined as was the president for whom I worked, that that was never going to happen again on our watch."

New documents detailing conversations former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had with members of his inner circle as the ground assault began on Feb. 24, 1991, were released Thursday by the National Defense University in Washington.

Hussein called Bush 'enemy of God'
The transcripts released for the 20th anniversary show Hussein tried to broker a last minute peace deal with the help of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev but at the same time remaining defiant, calling the coalition forces "treacherous and cowardly" and describing Bush as "the enemy of God and humanity."

Along with Bush, the reunion included former Vice President Dan Quayle, then-Defense Secretary Cheney, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Powell, former Secretary of State Baker and then-National Security Advisor Scowcroft.

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the coalition forces, will not be there for health reasons.

The war was prompted by Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, its small, oil-rich neighbor. The Kuwaiti dignitaries expected at the event Thursday include the emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

The United States Security Council warned Iraq that if it didn't withdraw its troops from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991, a U.S.-led coalition would be authorized to drive them out. The Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm, began two days later with air attacks against Iraqi targets.

The ground assault that started about a month later lasted only 100 hours. Kuwait was liberated and Iraqi troops were driven back to their home country. Of the more than 540,000 Americans deployed at the peak of the fighting, 148 were killed and 467 were wounded.

The documents released Thursday showed that as coalition troops began their ground assault, Hussein was exchanging letters with Gorbachev, asking the former Soviet leader to help broker a peace agreement. Gorbachev had apparently been able to get Iraq to agree to withdraw its troops from Kuwait within 21 days.

Appeal to Gorbachev
"Even though we will keep our promise, Mr. President, we do know that the Americans, especially their president, have no honor and we do not trust them; therefore, we are working only with your peace proposal," Hussein wrote to Gorbachev.

Gorbachev replied that Bush had not agreed to the proposal, having been upset by Iraq's burning of oil fields in Kuwait. Gorbachev urged Hussein to write to Bush directly and promise to withdraw his troops not in 21 days, but in nine or 10.

By that point, however, the ground attack had begun. The documents show Hussein's frustration at Gorbachev.

"He tricked us; it is a trick!" he said of the Soviet leader's efforts.

Bush said this week he has no regrets about his administration's handling of the war, including the decision to pull out American forces and leave Hussein in power.

The Iraqi leader was ousted in 2003 during the Iraq war, which started under Bush's son, former President George W. Bush. After being convicted of crimes against humanity, Hussein was hanged in December 2006.

Texas A&M is about 100 miles northwest of Houston and home to Bush's presidential library.

The Associated Press, NBC News and staff contributed to this report.


Source:  MSNBC,

Extreme Makeover recipient blessed two years later

Written by Joe Flanagan, 13NEWS /

Posted on January 19, 2011 at 5:05 PM, Updated today at 6:18 AM

JAMESVILLE, NC  - -WVEC--  Since Extreme Makeover Home Edition is coming to Hampton Roads in two weeks,  13News decided to revisit the Jeff Cooper family in Jamesville, North Carolina. 

It will be two years in March that the disabled Gulf War veteran had a brand new home built compliments of Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

"Well to me it's a blessing that it happened to start with, and it continues to be a blessing to us each and every day," said Jeff Cooper.       

Cooper was a medical specialist in the first Gulf War.  Since his story aired on national TV, he has received a number of handmade patriotic blankets and other gifts from around the country: all of them thanking him for his service. 

Jeff also suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.  He told us his new home has made him much more mobile since everything is so accessible. 

But he does have some advice for the family in Hampton Roads that will have a new home built for them in a couple weeks.

"Just take and put everything in the hands of Extreme Makeover and enjoy their vacation and don't worry about anything," added Cooper. 

Jeff's wife Clara had the same advice.

"You're going to get a little nervous but just enjoy yourself.  Have a good time.  When you come home, your whole world is going to be a little different but it will be so much better," said Clara Cooper


Source:  13 News/,

American Pain Foundation: Pain Monitor 2011

January 2011


FDA LogoTransmucosal Tablets Approved for Breakthrough Cancer Pain
The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of immediate-release Abstral (fentanyl) transmucosal tablets provides a new option for managing breakthrough pain for adults with cancer.

FDA Sets Limit on Acetaminophen in Combo Pain Meds
The FDA says makers of combination prescription medications can include no more than 325 mg of acetaminophen in each tablet or capsule.

NSAID Pain Relievers Raise Heart Risks
A new study weighs in on the debate over the relative safety of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), commonly used to treat joint and muscle aches and pain.

Pain Contracts Can Damage Patient Trust, Bioethics Panel Says
A group of physicians and experts on pain policy have published an article arguing that while opioid treatment contracts between patients and their physicians can be useful, they can be harmful for the patient-physician relationship unless presented in the right way, American Medical News reported.

handsGot Hand Pain? Maybe It's Mommy's Thumb
Doctors say a combination of heavier children, older new mothers, cribs that are lower to the floor, and frequent scrolling on smart phones are putting the thumb out of alignment with the rest of the hand.

Romantic Love Eases Physical Pain
We have all heard that love hurts, but research shows romantic love can be a potent natural painkiller.

Chronic Pain Affects Memory, Concentration
New research shows people who live with chronic spinal pain experience difficulty with mental concentration and problems with remembering information.


10,000 Voices Campaign
The 10,000 Voices campaign needs you to add your voice to the Virtual Wall of Voices. Your stories of struggle, hope and inspiration will be used to illustrate the range of experiences with pain management in America and inspire others to overcome the barriers that they face in their pain journey.

Uniting our voices, WE ARE conquering pain together!

APF Action Network (AN)
Pain Pathways Winter 2011 edition features five APF Action Network leaders! The issue highlights the varied perspectives of those affected by pain: caregivers, people living with pain and their health care practitioners.  From condition specific articles to articles focusing on treatment options, advocacy and the use of art and creativity to help manage pain, the magazine did a wonderful job of presenting a broad view of so many issues.  Leaders highlighted are: 

  • Caregiver, Doug Cook and his wife, Radene Marie Cook, a person living with pain are both AN leaders in Southern California
  • Teresa Shaffer is a person with pain and AN leader in West Virginia.
  • Kathryn Borgenicht, MD is a health care provider and AN leader in Montana, and;
  • Ellen Smith is a person with pain and AN leader in Rhode Island. 

Please visit your local bookstore or order your copy on

Announcing a New Leader in OK
We are very pleased to announce the addition of Amy Padgett-McCue, a person with pain, in Oklahoma to the APF Action Network state leadership.  Welcome Amy!

Check the map see if there are leaders in your state.  If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a leader please review the information on the Roles of Leaders page of our website and apply! Together we can make a difference!

There are many ways to get involved with the Action Network. For example, you can become a member of APF for important news and information, fill out an advocacy survey or contact your state leader to support their efforts.


PainAid Online Support Community
PainAid provides chat rooms (regularly scheduled chats on different issues), discussion boards (threaded message boards on a broad variety of topics), and the Ask the Experts feature (pose questions to licensed health care professionals). PainAid is staffed by highly qualified volunteers with a range of backgrounds, all of whom either live with chronic pain or care for people who do. Visit PainAid for more information.

Voices of People with Pain
If you are a person with pain or know someone who lives with pain, we invite you to share your story. View others' stories or share your own.

Webinar and Teleconference Replays
All APF webinars and teleconferences are archived for on-demand viewing. Make sure to check out our chat transcripts and join us at PainAid for future daily and special chats. Sign up to receive notifications of future webinars and teleconferences.

Other ways to get involved in our efforts:


The American Pain Foundation “Spotlights” are educational campaigns that highlight specific pain conditions or populations of people that experience pain. Spotlights bring focus to an issue offering a variety of ways for people to learn more about the topic, gain support, and take action. Click here for more information about our spotlights.

End of Life

Putting Palliative Care into Perspective
Earlier this month, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, died, six years after diagnosis of invasive breast cancer. Shortly before her death, Ms. Edwards announced that she intended to forgo additional cancer therapy. Shortly before her death, Ms. Edwards announced that she intended to forgo additional cancer therapy in favor of treatment aimed at addressing her comfort and quality of life in the time she had remaining.

Medicare to Cover End-of-Life Planning Talks
Starting Jan. 1, Medicare will reimburse physician discussions with patients about end-of-life treatment options.


Study Links Obesity to Greater Pain, Weakness in Fibromyalgia Patients
Obese fibromyalgia patients suffer more severe symptoms such as pain, reduced flexibility and sleep disturbances than those of normal weight, a new study indicates.


Pain Syndrome Affects More US Veterans
Complex regional pain syndrome can cause lifelong medical nightmares for some adults and even children, usually after a mild trauma inflames the nerves, causing pain that never shuts off — even after the original injury heals.


Recognizing Symptoms of Shingles
Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same one that causes chickenpox.

Vaccine Cuts Risk of Shingles
Older adults who had the shingles vaccine were half as likely to develop the painful condition than unvaccinated adults in a new study. The results suggest the vaccine could prevent tens of thousands of shingles cases each year if it were offered to everyone who is eligible, the authors say.


Alpha-Blockers, Antibiotics Best for Chronic Pelvic Pain
Antibiotics and alpha-adrenergic antagonists have the strongest evidence for efficacy in chronic prostatitis chronic pelvic pain syndrome, with somewhat less benefit seen with anti-inflammatory drugs, a meta-analysis showed.

Eliminate Codeine for Pediatric Pain Relief
The chorus of voices against the use of codeine in pediatric patients is getting louder throughout the United States and Canada. In an editorial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), two physicians suggested that codeine—which has been a standard of pain care long before rigorous clinical testing was required—should no longer be used and that its active metabolite, morphine, be used instead.


Acupressure Reduces Fatigue in Cancer Patients
Acupressure is a touch technique used by many massage therapists, and has been shown to effect numerous health benefits, including pain relief and weight gain in premature infants. New Research shows self-acupressure can increase energy in patients experiencing cancer-related fatigue.


2011 International Research Summer School at the International Observatory on End of Life
This program in Lancaster, England, is a one- or two-week interdisciplinary program that offers an advanced introduction to social research methods relevant to end of life care. The early bird rate deadline is Monday, February 28, 2011.


Neuro Film Festival
People who have loved ones affected by a brain disorder or have been affected by a disorder themselves are encouraged to share their story by submitting a short video to the 2011 Neuro Film Festival competition. The contest aims to raise awareness through video about the need to raise more money for research into the prevention, treatment and cure of brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, autism, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The deadline for video submissions is February 15, 2011. Winners of the 2011 Neuro Film Festival could win up to $1,000 and a chance to attend the Neuro Film Festival in Hawaii on April 10, 2011, in conjunction with the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd Annual Meeting.



RSD/CRPS Awareness Quilt Project
An ongoing project to raise awareness about chronic pain conditions, especially RSD.  The organizers are gathering quilt squares to make a pain awareness quilt that will travel across the United States. For more information, visit the Facebook page.

February 28, 2011
Rare Disease Day

March 7 – 13, 2011
National Sleep Awareness Week® 2011

June 5, 2011
National Cancer Survivors Day


February 10-12, 2011
Musculoskeletal Disorders and Chronic Pain
Los Angeles

March 24-27, 2011
American Academy of Pain Medicine Annual Meeting
Washington, DC

For more events happening around the country or to submit an event of your own, please visit our Events page.

Thank you to our medical/science editor Robert Twillman, PhD.

The Pain Monitor is a monthly electronic publication of the American Pain Foundation. We want to keep you abreast of recent media attention given to topics that are related to pain care or living with pain. This information is provided for educational and information purposes only. Readers may wish to print the information and discuss it with their doctor. Always consult with health care providers before starting or changing any treatment. Above are links to news articles, feature stories and timely information that have come to our attention. Please pass them along to others who might benefit. We encourage you to send any comments you may have to the authors or publishers directly. Every voice counts when working towards improving pain care in our nation.

The American Pain Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that relies upon private donations to fund its programs, services and distribution of educational materials. There are millions of people who live with unrelieved chronic pain. If you can help, please make a donation to the American Pain Foundation. For other ways you can support APF’s work, please visit our website at

To make sure you continue to receive our newsletters and alerts, please add to your address book or approved sender list.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

20 years later, Bush has no regrets about Gulf War

(01-18) 15:50 PST HOUSTON, CA (AP) --

Written By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press

Associated Press January 18, 2011 03:50 PM

Read more:

Former President George H.W. Bush said Tuesday he has no regrets about his administration's handling of the Gulf War, which began 20 years ago this week, including the decision pull out American forces even with a vanquished Saddam Hussein retaining power in Iraq.

During an interview with The Associated Press, Bush said he is comfortable that the war is considered the defining moment of his presidency and is relieved the loss of American lives was minimal after critics warned "thousands of body bags" would be needed.

Bush said the objective was always to drive Saddam's forces from Kuwait, not force the Iraqi leader from power.

"I don't think we could have done anything differently," Bush said. "I would have liked to see Saddam Hussein do himself in in some way, but that wasn't our objective."

Bush said if he had pushed to oust or kill Saddam, he would have risked losing support from many other countries that backed the war after the invasion of Kuwait.

James A. Baker III, Bush's secretary of state, joined Bush in his office during the interview. Baker said changing the mission midstream would have been disastrous.

"We would have been breaking our word to the rest of the world," Baker said. "You would have been turning a war of liberation into a war of occupation."

Bush, Baker and other members of the administration involved in the war effort are planning to commemorate the anniversary of the 1991 conflict Thursday at Texas A&M University, home of Bush's presidential library about 100 miles northwest of Houston. Among those scheduled to join them were former Vice President Dan Quayle, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, former Joints Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell and Bush's national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft.

The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber al-Sabah, was among Kuwaiti dignitaries scheduled to attend.

Bush said while he runs into his former colleagues from time to time, the reunion would be a first for a close team that accomplished "a real pristine job of going in there, doing what we said we would do and then come home."

Notably absent would be Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the coalition forces, whose health is preventing "a great hero" from attending, Bush said.

Bush said he believed Rev. Billy Graham was in the White House the night of Jan. 16, 1991, when the air assault began. They watched TV coverage.

"And we heard them say bombs were going off," Bush said. "There was great apprehension that a lot of kids would die. And some did. But thank God it wasn't near what had been predicted.

"I think any time a president has to commit somebody else's son or daughter into harm's way it is a tough decision. You worry about it. But we were convinced ... that we had to do this. We had to send a message we were going to enforce the UN resolutions and liberate the country."

Bush and Baker recalled the struggle to convince a Democratic-controlled Congress the war that would be dubbed Desert Storm was the right decision after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

"Comments that thousands of body bags were being made right now, and just on and on it went, arguing that this was going to be a bloodbath for many, many people," Bush said.

"They were beating up on us so much." Baker recalled. "How can you do this? How many thousands of people going to be killed? But not only that, how can you spend the resources of the country on this adventure when people are going hungry and our domestic situation and blah, blah, blah."

He said at Bush's direction, he and other administration officials "went around the world with a tin cup," securing $15 billion from the Kuwaitis, another $15 billion from the Saudis, and billions elsewhere.

"We got this war paid for to a large extent by the people whose bacon we were saving," Baker said. "This was the first and only war in the history of the country we got other people to pay for."

The U.S. tab was "$10 billion for a war that ended up costing $70 billion," Baker said. "Yes, we paid our share and we lost 370 brave young Americans. You can't put a price on that, but this is the first and only war in the history of the country we got other people to pay for."

Bush said he remembered New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wondering why he would waste "American blood on sheiks living in a hotel." Baker said French President Francois Mitterrand responded to his pitch by asking: "How in the world can I spill French blood for a man who has 13 wives and grows roses?"

"Democrats were saying some worse things," Baker said. "But this was the first time since Vietnam America had gone to war in the substantial way we did. And it really ended the Vietnam syndrome."

Bush and Baker said some opponents later would acknowledge their criticism was wrong.

"It was far better than we had feared," Bush said of the outcome. "We feared it would go badly. But it went far more clean ... far more quickly, far less loss of our lives and Iraqi lives, than we worried about. It was very rewarding.

"We said what we were going to do, did it, took a moral message around the world, liberated a country, and sent a message in the process that the United States was willing to use force way across the world, even in that part of the world where those countries over there thought we never would intervene. And I think it was a signature historic event."

"It doesn't seem like 20 years," Baker said.


Read more:


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WRN: Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day

Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day

by Jackie Johnson on January 17, 2011, Wisconsin Radio Network

in Health & Medicine,Military

It’s a day to recognize those who suffer from post-deployment health issues. Over 10,000 Wisconsin veterans, and nearly 700,000 nationwide, served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The U.S. Veterans Department says about 1/4th of all Gulf War veterans are on VA disability rules.

There still isn’t a cure for Gulf War Illness; they’ve simply been treating the symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and gastrointestinal issues. Progress has been made in recognizing the symptoms and in medical research funding.

Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to observe, recognize and affirm the plight of many Gulf War veterans, with the annual observance starting in 2006.

A Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day ceremony was held on Friday at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in advance of the actual date of the observance, January 17, due to Martin Luther King observances today.


Source:  Wisconsin Radio Network,

National Center for PTSD: PILOTS Database

PILOTS:  An Electronic Index to the Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD) Literature

The PILOTS (Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress) database is an electronic index to the worldwide literature on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health consequences of exposure to traumatic events. It is produced by the National Center for PTSD, and is electronically available to the public. There is no charge for using the database, and no account or password is required. Although it is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the PILOTS database is not limited to literature on PTSD among veterans.

Search PILOTS*

The bibliographic interface allows a person to get regular updates on new articles that meet specific search criteria. See database interface for details.

Each record in PILOTS is a representation of a document, containing:

  • a bibliographic citation, giving the information (author, title, and source) needed to locate the document
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at the Executive Division of the National Center for PTSD in White River Junction, Vermont.

IOM: Biomarker Workshop Summary

Perspectives on Biomarker and Surrogate Endpoint Evaluation - Workshop Summary
January 18, 2011
Workshop Summary
Biomedical and Health Research, Diseases, Quality and Patient Safety
Qualification of Biomarkers and Surrogate Endpoints in Chronic Disease
Food and Nutrition Board, Board on Health Care Services, Board on Health Sciences Policy

Note: Workshop Summaries contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the IOM. Learn more about the differences between Workshop Summaries and Consensus Reports.

Doctors, scientists, and other health professionals use biomarkers as tools to obtain information about a person’s health status or response to interventions. Defined as characteristics that indicate biological processes, biomarkers are essential for monitoring the health of both individuals and communities. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the IOM to conduct a study on the evaluation process for biomark¬ers, focusing on biomarkers and surrogate endpoints in chronic disease. In its report Evaluation of Biomarkers and Surrogate Endpoints in Chronic Disease, the IOM recommends that the FDA adopt a consistent scientific framework to evaluate biomarkers, consisting of three steps: analytical validation, evidentiary qualification, and utilization analysis.

The IOM held a workshop June 21-22, 2010, to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to learn about, react to, and discuss the report. Presenters provided perspectives on the report from the point of view of participants from the FDA, the National Institutes of Health, and from a diverse group of industry stakeholders. This document summarizes the workshop.



Monday, January 17, 2011

UK: Newport Gulf war veteran says soldiers still need help


BATTLE AGAINST ILLNESS: Phil Brown SOLDIER: Phil Brown when serving with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers


10:50am Monday 17th January 2011

Photograph of the Author  By Alison Sanders »

    WITH yesterday marking the 20th anniversary of the start of the Gulf War, veterans say not enough is being done for them since their return.

    First Gulf War veteran Phil Brown, from Newport, said he has never had the full amount of support from the military he needed and fears this will be the same for soldiers currently fighting in Afghanistan.

    Mr Brown said veterans have to rely on third parties like charities such as Help for Heroes when they should instead be getting the help they need from the military.

    Mr Brown, 40, has suffered a form of arthritis for at least 15 years after being diagnosed with Reiter’s syndrome, a condition that affects the joints and eyes, in the early 1990s just before leaving the army.

    He has battled joint pain, short-term memory loss, conjunctivitis, and bowel problems.

    Mr Brown, who joined the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers in 1969, went out to Saudi Arabia in December 1990 where he was a craftsman working on tank transporters.

    He was then sent to Iraq for four months and began noticing something was wrong shortly after he left.

    Mr Brown said he was aching a lot more than usual after any form of exercise and was rushed to hospital on one occasion after his knee swelled up when trying to bend down.

    The former soldier, who left the army in 1994, is still suffering from the same symptoms but says his current medication is helping.

    He said: "We were the guinea pigs and I think they have learnt some lessons from when I was out there. But I don't think it's 100 percent."

    Mr Brown said the army needs to plan ahead for the mental damage to troops which he fears will come to them later on.

    The conflict in the Gulf began on January 16, 1991, in response to Saddam Hussain's invasion of Kuwait.

    It saw 53,000 British servicemen and women engaged in the conflict.

    Twenty years on and the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NHVFA) claim that 9,700 British veterans have suffered a range of Gulf-War related problems including chronic headaches, depression, fatigue and breathing difficulties.

    It also fears that Ministry of Defence cutbacks will result in an increase in the number of rejected claims for war disablement pensions.

    Soldiers' service 'greatly valued'

    The MoD said it “greatly values the service of all 1990-1991 Gulf veterans”.

    A spokeswoman said: "We have long accepted that some veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf conflict are ill and that some of this ill health may be related to their Gulf service.

    “The UK and the US have undertaken a substantial amount of research into Gulf veterans' illness. The research has indicated that there is no illness which is specific to Gulf veterans.”

    Gulf veterans can receive compensation under the MoD's war pension scheme (WPS) and armed forces occupational pension schemes.

    Some 4,795 Gulf veterans are currently in receipt of a war pension and last year around £1 billion was paid out under the WPS.


    SOURCE:  South Argus Wales,

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Wisconsin Observes Gulf War Illness Recognition Day



    Visitors to the opening of the Paper Wall exhibit at the State Capitol.

    MADISON, Wis. (WKOW) -- Wisconsin veterans gather in Madison to observe the fifth annual Gulf War Illness Recognition Day.

    In 2006, Wisconsin became the first state to designate an annual observance for those who still suffer from post-deployment health issues.

    Governor Scott Walker declared January 17 Gulf War Illness Recognition Day, but the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to hold the ceremony Friday due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.


    SOURCE:  WKOW – FOX 27:

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    VFW: Gulf War Illness – A Practical Guide

    Approximately one in three 1991 Persian Gulf War veterans suffers from a multi-symptom illness. Follow these steps to seek treatment or VA compensation.

    Written by Kelly Von Lune, VFW Magazine, January 2011

    (January 2001 – VFW) - VA confirmed in November 2008 that
    ailments reported by Persian Gulf War veterans are real. Of the some 700,000 service members sent to the Persian Gulf between August 1990 and July 1991, an estimated 250,000 endure “persistent, unexplained symptoms.”

    The health conditions often are attributed to anti-nerve gas drugs given to troops and pesticides used during the war. Pyridostigmine bromide, which was administered to troops, had not been approved for nerve agent protection.

    Also, service members were exposed to sarin, a toxic nerve agent, when coalition forces blew up an Iraqi missile arsenal after the war.  [91outcomes Editor’s Note:  Cyclosarin has been confirmed to also have been contained in the airborne post-explosion plume that drifted over an estimated 100,000 troops, and Mustard is also believed to have been present.  Additionally, a myriad of Gulf War veterans have repeatedly testified before Congress that they had confirmed exposures to a host of other Iraqi chemical warfare agents, including Mustard gas, other vessicants.  A book by CIA Analyst Patrick Eddington, “Gassed in the Gulf”, contained the most detailed accounting published to date of Gulf War chemical exposures.]

    Yet the specific links still are not [fully] understood.

    A review by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine concluded that [one] illness clearly caused by the Gulf War is post-traumatic stress disorder, present in 2% to 15% of Gulf War vets, depending on how it is diagnosed.

    Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, director of strategic communications for the Military
    Health System, told the American Forces Press Service in April 2010 that Gulf War veterans should seek care through VA rather than private doctors.

    That way researchers can continue to track their data and search for causes of their symptoms.

    In March 2010,VA announced that it would take a second look at disability claims related to Gulf War Illness, as well as train its medical staff to make sure not to tell vets that their symptoms are imaginary.

    If you are a Gulf War veteran, what do you do?

    Step 1: Know Presumptive Diseases

    In September 2010, VA published new regulations stating that veterans who served in the Gulf War and have one or more of the following conditions are presumed to be service-connected. (Diseases marked with an * are newly approved.)

    Brucellosis*: A bacterial disease with symptoms such as profuse sweating and joint and muscle pain.

    Campylobacter jejuni*: A disease with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever.

    Chronic fatigue syndrome: A condition of prolonged and severe tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions.

    Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)*: A bacterial disease with symptoms such as fever, severe headache and gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and diarrhea.

    Fibromyalgia: A common condition [among Gulf War veterans]  characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.

    Irritable bowel syndrome: A common disorder [among Gulf War veterans] that affects the intestines (colon) and causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.

    Malaria*: An infectious disease caused by a parasite. Symptoms include chills, fever and sweats.

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis*: An illness that primarily affects the lungs and causes symptoms such as chest pain, persistent cough,weight loss and fever.

    Non-typhoid Salmonella*: A condition characterized by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

    Shigella*: A condition characterized by symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

    Visceral leishmaniasis*: A parasitic disease characterized by symptoms such as fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anemia.

    West Nile virus*: A disease spread by mosquitoes characterized by symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain or weakness, nausea and vomiting.

    With the new rule, a veteran only needs to show service in Southwest Asia (also applies to Afghanistan), that he or she had one of the diseases within a certain time after service, and that he or she has a current disability as a result of that disease. However, seven of the diseases are subject to certain time limits.

    Step 2: Get an Evaluation

    Veterans who think they have been exposed to environmental hazards during military service and would like an evaluation should contact an environmental health coordinator at a regional VA medical center.

    VA maintains a health registry evaluation program to track the health of veterans as described above. Gulf War (and Operation Iraqi Freedom) exposures may include pesticides, infectious diseases, chemical and biological warfare agents, oil well fires and depleted uranium.

    A listing of coordinators is available online at   Information also is offered through the VA special health issues helpline at 1-800-749-8387.

    The health registry evaluation is available free of charge to all eligible veterans. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in VA health care to be eligible.

    The evaluation provides veterans with:

    • A free specialized health evaluation.
    • Answers to questions about environmental exposures.
    • Information on health care and other VA benefits.
    • Test results shared and maintained in VA medical records.

    However, note that a Gulf War Registry examination is not a claim, nor is it required for VA health care benefits or disability compensation.

    As of March 2010, 116,628 initial examinations had been performed,with 6,896 follow-up exams—a 5.9% follow-up rate.

    [91outcomes Editor’s Note:  The Gulf War Registry Exam may lead to treatment.  After having a Gulf War Registry Exam and any follow-on medical care, veterans with unresolved chronic multi-symptom illness or continued undiagnosed symptoms can get exams from the VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Centers (WRIISC’s).  See for more information on how to be evaluated at one of these three national veterans care facilities. ]

    To receive the Gulf War Review VA newsletter via e-mail, sign up at

    Step 3: File a Claim

    Gulf War veterans seeking disability compensation for illnesses incurred in or aggravated by military service can use any of the following resources:

    • Contact a veterans benefits counselor at the nearest VA regional office or health care facility at 1-800-827-1000.

    • Submit claims online at

    • Call the VA Gulf War Information Helpline at 1-800-PGW-VETS (1-800-749-8387).

    VA credits VFW for being “very helpful to Gulf War veterans.” To find a VFW service officer, go to

    As of September 2010, the basic VA compensation rate for veterans without dependents ranges from $123 to $2,673 per month, depending on disability.

    Ongoing Research

    VA approved $2.8 million in July 2010 to fund three new research projects to test or develop new treatments for Gulf War Illness:

    • A five-year study will evaluate the impact of resistance exercise training in treating chronic musculoskeletal pain and associated symptoms in GulfWar veterans.
    • A four-year study on an animal model of Gulf War illnesses will assess the effectiveness of therapies to enhance mood and memory.
    • A two-year pilot study will include eight-week trials of “mindfulness based stress reduction,” compared with traditional care.

    Search for “Gulf War Illness” on to view recent studies, as well as those recruiting eligible veterans.




    SOURCE:  VFW Magazine, January 2011,

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    USA TODAY: Study links obesity to greater pain, weakness in fibromyalgia patients

    Fibromyalgia is a “presumptive” condition for Gulf War veterans

    Written by Maureen Salamon, HealthDay, USA Today

    (HealthDay, USA Today) - Obese fibromyalgia patients suffer more severe symptoms such as pain, reduced flexibility and sleep disturbances than those of normal weight, a new study indicates.

    But the good news is that losing weight may bring a modicum of relief, other research suggests.

    Noting that pain issues are common in obese people, researchers from the University of Utah analyzed 215 patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic musculoskeletal pain disorder afflicting between 3% and 5% of Americans, most of them women.

    Nearly half of the study participants were obese, and another 30% were overweight, with the obese patients experiencing much greater pain to the touch in lower body areas, according to the research. One of the cardinal features of fibromyalgia is extreme pain upon palpation of at least 11 of 18 so-called tender points across the body.

    The obese fibromyalgia patients were also more likely than the other study participants to have reduced physical strength, less flexibility in the lower body, a shorter sleeptime and greater restlessness when they did sleep, the study found.

    Study author Akiko Okifuji, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Utah's Pain Research and Management Center, said several effects of obesity on the body may heighten fibromyalgia pain, including increased loading on joints and bones.

    "Both fibromyalgia and obesity are clearly big public health concerns. Both conditions seriously impact quality of life," Okifuji said. "It's very difficult to do effective weight management.if you have fibromyalgia. Clearly, if you can do effective weight management, it's better for your overall health."

    Obesity is quite common among those with fibromyalgia, with previous research reporting that up to 50% of patients are obese and another 21% to 28% are overweight.

    The study, reported in the December 2010 issue of The Journal of Pain, said the poorer sleep quality affecting obese fibromyalgia patients appears to contribute significantly to their fatigue and pain. Obesity is also a risk factor for shorter sleep duration in the general population, according to the study.

    Study participants had suffered from fibromyalgia for an average of 12.7 years and were an average of 45 years old, with a mean weight of 184 pounds. Only 47 of the 215 patients had body-mass indexes (BMIs) in the normal range, with four below normal.

    In addition to a tender point exam, the participants underwent a home sleep assessment and physical performance tests that included treadmill walking, leg raises, standing push-ups and range-of-motion flexes.

    Vitaly Napadow, an assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School who was not connected to the study, said the link between obesity and greater pain in fibromyalgia creates a "vicious cycle" because the pain poses a barrier to exercise, which could reduce weight.

    "I think the study was interesting in that it was a larger sample size than the authors studied in the past," said Napadow, also an assistant in neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital. "It needs to be recognized that there are these subpopulations in fibromyalgia, and obesity is another burden that needs to be dealt with."

    Okifuji said study participants were not asked which condition they had developed first, obesity or fibromyalgia, but noted that each one is a risk factor for the other. Researchers also noted that the study did not determine causality and that its definition of obesity was based on the BMI, which doesn't take into account age or ethnic differences.

    "I think the study ended up bringing up more questions than answers," she said.

    Both Okifuji and Napadow said a multi-pronged approach to treating obese fibromyalgia patients, including medication, proper nutrition and exercise, needs to be incorporated to maximize symptom relief. Other research has suggested that weight loss may bring some relief from fibromyalgia symptoms, the researchers noted.

    "If they're not able to walk because of pain, (perhaps) we can devise upper-body exercise regimens ... that are not difficult for them to do," Napadow said. "That's one kind of intriguing possibility."


    SOURCE:  USA Today

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Wisconsin’s Annual State Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day Ceremony to be held January 14

    (MADISON – WDVA Press Release) - The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) will host a Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day ceremony, in the Richard H. Zeitlin Education Center of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.  The ceremony is being held in advance of the actual date of the observance, due to a state holiday falling on January 17.

    WDVA Secretary Ken Black and Gulf War veteran Cpt. Angela Joseph-Gaffke of the Wisconsin Army National Guard will provide remarks.  WDVA Deputy Secretary Donna Williams will read a Governor’s Proclamation signed by Governor Scott Walker declaring January 17, 2011 as Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day in Wisconsin. 

    2005 Wisconsin Act 37 was created designating each January 17th as Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day in the state, a day statutorily designated for recognition of those who still suffer from post-deployment health issues. 

    Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to designate an annual observance, starting in 2006.

    Those attending the ceremony will include members of the Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs, members of Wisconsin veterans service organizations, and Gulf War veterans.

    Legislators, veterans and the public are invited to attend.  The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is located at 30 W. Mifflin St. in Madison, Wis., across the street from the State Capitol.

    Media are invited to attend, as there will be opportunities for photos and interviews.  In addition, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum is opening a photography exhibit on January 14 that chronicles the Gulf War.  For further information about Gulf War Illnesses, as well as WDVA programs and activities, go to or call toll-free at 1-800-WIS-VETS (947-8387).

    Wisconsin Photographer Chronicles Operation Desert Storm

    New Exhibit Opening at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

    (MADISON – Wisconsin Veterans Museum Press Release) - The Wisconsin Veterans Museum will open The Scorching Desert Sun: A Wisconsin Photographer Chronicles Operation Desert Storm exhibit on Friday, January 14, 2011.  The exhibit will remain on display until March 31, 2011.
    As a photographer for the 28th Public Affairs Team, U.S. Army Sergeant Mike Weber documented the actions of the 82nd Airborne Division during the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm.  From the capture of prisoners-of-war and the confiscation of ordnance, Weber saw it all.  The latter action, though, has proven to be the most difficult as Weber, like many of his fellow Gulf War veterans, still suffers from the effects of exposure to leaking or detonated chemical weapons.  This photography exhibit, culled from the collections of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum , chronicles Weber’s tour in Iraq , from staging in Kuwait , to the charge into Iraqi territory, and the American interaction with Iraqi civilians.

    Questions about the exhibit may be directed to Jeff Kollath, Curator of Programs & Exhibitions at (608) 261-0541. 
    Operated by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum is committed to honoring Wisconsin ’s military veterans and their role in shaping our nation’s history through unique collections, award-winning exhibits, and educational programs. 
    The department and the Museum are located at 30 W. Mifflin St. in Madison , across the street from the State Capitol.  For more information go to