Saturday, March 3, 2012

Text of Kucinich-Roe "Dear Colleague"




BIPARTISAN LETTER TO SUPPORT THE SEARCH FOR TREATMENTS FOR GULF WAR VETERANS ILLNESS

From: The Honorable Dennis J. Kucinich


SUPPORT THE SEARCH FOR TREATMENTS FOR GULF WAR VETERANS’ ILLNESS
**This is a PROGRAMMATIC REQUEST. No financial disclosures are required. Members would only need to submit the project online as a programmatic request. **

This request is supported by the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Veterans for Common Sense

DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2012


  
Dear Colleague:

We write to request your support to secure full funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense. 

An estimated 250,000 veterans of the first Gulf War suffer from persistent symptoms such as chronic headache, widespread pain, cognitive difficulties, unexplained fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory symptoms, and other abnormalities that are not explained by traditional medical or psychiatric diagnoses.  Research shows that as these brave veterans age, they are at double the risk for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) as their non-deployed peers.  

There may also be connections to Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.  Gulf War veterans suffering from this illness remain without a cure and significant gains from the research program have been made.  We can’t allow Congress to forget these veterans now.  

The GWIRP is the only national program studying this issue, and it is working.  CDMRP-funded researchers at the University of California, San Diego, reported in June on the first successful medication treatment study in the history of Gulf War illness research.  The study showed that the supplement CoQ10 produced significant improvement in a range of symptoms of Gulf War Illness, including one of the most serious, fatigue with exertion.  It is not a cure, and the study needs be replicated in a larger group, but the result is extremely encouraging.

The research conducted by GWIRP is vital not only for ill Gulf War veterans, who currently lack any effective treatments, but also for other U.S. military forces.  To cosponsor, or for more information, please contact Diala Jadallah (Kucinich) at xxx or Laine Evans (Roe) at xxx.

Sincerely,

/s/                                                                     /s/
Dennis J. Kucinich                                                    Phil Roe
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress


************************************************************************************

DATE XX, 2012

The Honorable C.W. Young                                                 The Honorable Norman D. Dicks
Chairman                                                                           Ranking Member
Defense Appropriations Subcommittee                                 Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
H-307, The Capitol                                                              1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                      Washington, D.C. 20515
                              

Dear Chairman Young and Ranking Member Dicks:

Thank you for your interest and continued support of the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), including the $10 million awarded to the program for FY 2012. As the Subcommittee begins work on the FY 2013 Appropriations bill for the Department of Defense, we are pleased to point out the dramatic progress made by the program during the past two years. 

In a landmark 2010 report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recognized that the chronic multisymptom illness affecting 250,000 Gulf War veterans is a serious disease (not caused by psychiatric illness) that also affects other U.S. military forces, and called for a major national research effort to identify treatments.  The scientific community has responded with a dramatic increase in the quality and quantity of proposals submitted to CDMRP.  Most encouraging, CDMRP-funded researchers have completed the first successful pilot study of a medication to treat one of the major symptoms of Gulf War Illness.  In recognition of this progress, last July a bipartisan amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 provided $10 million for the program.

We appreciate the support you have given to make this progress possible, and respectfully seek your support in FY2013 for adequate funding to continue the progress that has been made.  Funding will be used for pilot studies of promising treatments, for clinical trials of treatments shown effective in earlier pilot studies, and for the execution of collaborative treatment research plans developed by consortiums of scientists funded by CDMRP in FY10.

This effective small program demonstrably merits continuation and expansion, even in a time of fiscal austerity. 
The research conducted by GWIRP is vital not only for ill Gulf War veterans, who currently lack any effective treatments, but also for other U.S. military forces.  Assummarized by the IOM committee chair, Dr. Stephen Hauser, in his letters to you dated July 20, 2010, the IOM report recognized that "the chronic multisymptom illness that affects an estimated 250,000 Gulf War veterans -- over one-third of those who served -- also affects other military forces," and that this research is "vital to the health and effectiveness of current and future military forces, in addition to Gulf War veterans."  

The GWVIRP is the only national program addressing this issue.  It is a competitive peer-reviewed program open to any doctor or scientist on a competitive basis.  By contrast, Veterans Affairs (VA) research programs are only open to VA doctors, few of whom have expertise in chronic multisymptom illness.  To effectively address a difficult and specialized problem like this, it is necessary to enlist the entire medical scientific community.

Most importantly, it is working.  CDMRP-funded researchers at the University of California, San Diego, reported in June of last year on the first successful medication treatment study in the history of Gulf War illness research.  The study showed that the supplement CoQ10 produced significant improvement in one of the most serious symptoms of Gulf War illness, fatigue with exertion.  It is not a cure, and the study needs be replicated in a larger group, but the result is extremely encouraging.

At long last, the scientific community has recognized the severity and scope of this problem and is engaged in its solution.  Congress has created this superb program which is succeeding where others have failed.  We respectfully request that you providing the necessary resources to accomplish this vitals mission.

This request has the endorsement of American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Veterans for Common Sense

Sincerely,

/s/
<cosigners>

1 comment:

Matt said...

It's rather interesting that IOM and many Congressional members don't mind using the term Gulf War Illness. But here is a quote from the VA.gov site that does not want to use the term Gulf War Illness.
This to me clearly demonstrates that the VA & DoD are still in denial and are not on board with wanting to help veterans whom have Gulf War Illness.
Here is the quote and the link:

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/medically-unexplained-illness.asp

""VA prefers not to use the term “Gulf War Syndrome” when referring to medically unexplained symptoms reported by Gulf War Veterans. Why? Because symptoms vary widely and therefore, do not meet the definition of a syndrome. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that usually occur together and characterize a certain disease or abnormal condition. That is why VA uses the terms “medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses” and "undiagnosed illnesses" instead of “Gulf War Syndrome.”"