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Monday, April 30, 2012

New Texas Study Helps Unravel Gulf War Illness Memory Deficits


Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes.com

(91outcomes.com) - A new medical research study has not only confirmed memory deficits in ill Gulf War veterans but has provided objective evidence helping to explain the specific source of these memory deficits in the brain.  

The University of Texas-Arlington study used sophisticated neuropsychological testing and objective functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine and analyze the memory problems.  The study found the memory deficits were related to dysfunction in one specific part of the brain, the hippocampus, a region of the brain central to processing short-term memories into long-term ones -- essentially the key to new memory formation.

The study adds yet another piece to the growing body of scientific evidence objectively confirming and helping to unravel the underlying biological mechanisms of Gulf War Illness (GWI), a debilitating chronic condition that affects an estimated 250,000 (See: IOM, 2010) of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, along with other U.S. forces.  Memory loss and confusion were among the earliest symptoms reported by ill Gulf War veterans suffering from the multisymptom illness, who in addition to GWI have been shown to have higher rates of  neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers.

The new study, led by Dr. Timothy Odegard, was conducted by members of the GWI research team of Dr. Robert Haley, a pioneer in the field of GWI research.  In 2009, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defunded Haley's research efforts due to a contract dispute, despite its apparent promising nature.  

Other studies by Haley's team found evidence of chronic, abnormal blood flow in the brain of GWI patients and suggested that GWI is the result of nerve gas.  According to U.S. Department of Defense estimates, at least 140,000 U.S. Gulf War troops were exposed in the days following the end of the 1991 ground war to sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard chemical warfare agents following demolition of Iraqi chemical munitions at an Iraqi munitions complex near Khamisiyah, Iraq.

Other research efforts have implicated pyridostigmine bromide (PB) anti-nerve agent protective pills (NAPP) and potent pesticides (See: RAC, 2008) used during the Gulf War.  Several of the implicated chemicals belong to a common class of chemicals called organophosphates.  

Much of the current scientific discussion surrounding GWI involves the mechanisms and long-term effects of, and potential treatments for Gulf War veterans' exposures to various neurotoxins, substances that are toxic to the brain and neurological system and can have long lasting -- even lifelong -- neurological and other physiological effects.  

Haley has suggested three distinct syndromes among ill Gulf War veterans, though this conclusion remains controversial among other GWI researchers.  

***

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  PubMed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22519425

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Neurocase. 2012 Apr 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Memory impairment exhibited by veterans with Gulf War Illness.

Source

Department of Psychology, University Texas Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA.

Abstract

Roughly 26-32% of US veterans, who served in the first Gulf War, report suffering from chronic health problems ( Golomb, 2008, Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, 105, 4295). 
The present study investigated the memory deficits reported by these ill Gulf War veterans (GWV) using a face-name associative memory paradigm administered during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). 
The fMRI data confirmed memory performance on the memory task to be related to the amount of activation in the left hippocampus observed during the study. 
In addition, ill-GWV demonstrated decreased memory performance relative to unaffected GWV on this memory test, providing evidence of memory deficits using an objective measure of memory.
PMID:
 
22519425
 
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

NY Times: Does the VA Get It?


Source:  the new york times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/opinion/does-the-va-get-it.html?_r=1

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

New York Times EDITORIAL

Does the V.A. Get It?

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it plans to hire 1,900 psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, clinicians and clerical employees, a 10 percent increase in its mental health staff. That’s welcome progress for a system that is struggling to meet the needs of veterans. But there are questions about whether it will be enough — and whether the department is truly facing up to its problems.

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On Monday, the department’s inspector general released a reportshowing that veterans are waiting far longer for mental health care than the department has been willing to admit. A new applicant for mental health services is supposed to receive an evaluation within two weeks, a standard the department says it meets more than 95 percent of the time. But the inspector general said that fewer than half of veterans received evaluations within 14 days. The rest waited an average of 50 days.
This sounds distressingly familiar. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, accused the V.A. of “unchecked incompetence” in delaying treatment and ordered it to overhaul mental health care for troubled veterans, who are killing themselves by the thousands each year.
Eric Shinseki, the secretary of veterans affairs, has taken admirable steps to help veterans by expanding and improving programs to fight homelessness and provide more psychological care. But a lot more needs to be done.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress seem determined to do less. House budget-cutters have already made a target of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which runs a housing-voucher program with the Department of Veterans Affairs that has saved many thousands of veterans from homelessness. President Obama and Democratic  leaders who have vowed to protect veterans’ assistance will need to push back hard. All those who served — the Vietnam veterans who make up a huge portion of the V.A.’s clients and the Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who, after 10 years of war, are joining them — deserve the country’s full support.

WWII D-Day Veteran Needs Our Help

(91outcomes.com) - Army WWII veteran Bob Strait, a veteran of WWII's famous and horrific D-Day invasion, helped our nation.  Today, after having been brutally attacked along with his wife of 65 years in a horrific home invasion, he needs our help.


Please, watch the short video below, then do whatever your heart tells you to do. 


The information in this video is accurate, and I, Anthony Hardie, publisher/author of this website, 91outcomes.com, have personally verified it, including with Snopes, Army Times, and KDAF-TV Dallas-Fort Worth at CW33.com.  


Again, please watch this short video. And then do whatever your heart tells you to do.  


-Anthony Hardie
Madison, Wis.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Final List of Senate Cosigners: FY13 Sanders Dear Colleague for GWI CDMRP Funding





The following is the final list of all Members of the U.S. Senate signed onto the FY13 Sanders "Dear Colleague" request to provide FY13 Gulf War Illness treatment Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Funding:


  1. Akaka, Daniel (D-HI)
  2. Durbin, Richard (D-IL)
  3. Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)
  4. Kerry, John (D-MA)
  5. Kohl, Herb (D-WI)
  6. Manchin, Joe (D-WV)
  7. Rockefeller, John D., IV (D-WV)
  8. Sanders, Bernie (I-VT)
  9. Schumer, Charles (D-NY)
  10. Tester, Jon  (D-MT)
  11. Also, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) sent his own letter of support.


Here's the list of those who cosigned in FY11 (there wasn't a letter in FY12):  http://www.91outcomes.com/2012/04/final-list-of-cosigners-to-fy13-sanders.html

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Higher Rates of Lung Cancer Among Gulf War, Other Veterans; Immediate Medical Research Funding Availability through CDMRP


Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes.com

(91outcomes.com) - The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (http://CDMRP.army.mil) has announced research grant opportunities for the Lung Cancer Research Program.

The Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Defense Appropriations Act provided $10.2 million in research funding for the peer reviewed programs managed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). 

Funding is now for medical researchers interested in cutting edge research on lung cancer.  Studies have found that Lung Cancer affects Gulf War and other veterans at rates higher than their non-deployed and non-military service counterparts.  


Elevated Lung Cancer Among Gulf War, Other Veterans

A study of state cancer registry data published in April 2010 (Dr. Heather Young et al, Annals of Epidemiology) found the incidence of lung cancer to be substantially higher among Gulf War veterans than their non-deployed counterparts (adjusted proportional incidence ratios, 1.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.03−1.29).  

A closer look at this study's data (Figure 1) shows very large spikes of cancer diagnosis in 1993 and 1995-96, smaller spikes in 1999 and 2001, followed by a slow but steady increase from 2003-06 (the last year of study data) despite a correspondingly steady decrease in lung cancer rates among non-deployed Gulf War era veterans.  

Other studies have found higher rates of lung cancer associated with other military service.   According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, "One of the first studies to document disparity in lung cancer incidence and mortality was carried out by the VA in 1987 and indicated that former Marine ground troops in Vietnam died of lung cancer at a 58% higher rate than marines who did not serve in the war."


Early CT Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives and Money - But VA is Far Behind in Implementing It

“We’ve known for years that our veterans are being diagnosed and dying of lung cancer at higher rates than civilians,” said Lung Cancer Alliance Board Chairman Admiral T. Joseph Lopez USN (Ret).

According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, lung cancer is the "leading cancer killer," and "accounts for 30% of all cancer deaths, and takes more lives each year than the next four biggest cancers - breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers - combined."

However, there's not just doom and gloom.  Major national research efforts, including by the by the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP), have found that early CT ("CAT") scan screening for lung cancer can reduce mortality by more than 60 percent.  

In keeping with these powerful research recommendations and the recognition that veterans are at substantially higher risk than their non-military service counterparts, the nations largest veterans service organization continue to urge VA to implement CT lung cancer screening for veterans.  

The Independent Budget for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013, authored by AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), include a section on the impact of lung cancer and urged that the VA set up pilot programs that would offer CT screening to veterans at high risk for lung cancer.  

In addition to substantially improving survival rates, detecting and treating lung cancer at early stage is far less expensive than late stage, says Lopez:  "Screening not only saves lives and money but enables those treated and cured to continue to lead productive lives."

To date, VA has not implemented these recommendations, continuing to rely solely on highly inefficient X-Rays even for veteran populations at very high risk for lung cancer like the Qarmat Ali cohort.  

Indeed, it is only through active Congressional intervention and direction that there is specific funding for Lung Cancer research at DoD.  

Meanwhile, the VA's FY13 budget recommendation has funding for general cancer research, and for "lung disorders" -- presumably respiratory disorders -- but there's no specific funding allocation for lung cancer and disappointingly not any specific mention of implementation of the early CT lung cancer screening recommended by the national VSO's.  


Lung Cancer Among 1991 Gulf War Veterans - Does Mustard Gas Play a Role in Increase Gulf War Lung Cancer Rates?

In January 2010, a study of Iranian veterans exposed to mustard gas during the 1981-88 Iran-Iraq Gulf War found that a single exposure to mustard was linked to resultant lung cancer.  Its authors concluded, "it is well documented that SM [sulfur mustard, mustard gas] can cause human lung cancer after long-term exposure, but there has not been strong and definitive evidence for only short-term and acute, single, high-dose exposure until now."

U.S and some Coalition troops were exposed to mustard gas during the 1991 Gulf War, including after U.S. troops detonated Iraqi munitions containing sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard at Khamisiyah, Iraq in the days following the end of fighting during the 1991 Gulf War. Prior to conclusive documentary evidence demonstrating the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had advance knowledge of chemical munitions at this site, Pentagon officials denied any deployment of Iraqi chemical munitions into the theater of combat operations.  To date, the Pentagon has never admitted the presence of Iraqi chemical munitions at other alleged sites within the 1991 Gulf War combat theater.

Thousands of U.S. and coalition troops were also likely exposed to low levels of mustard and other chemical warfare agents during the 1991 Gulf War air bombing campaign that targeted Iraqi chemical warfare munitions production and storage facilities.  Investigations by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, chaired by then-Senator Don Riegle (D-Mich.) found strong evidence of downwind dispersal of the chemical agents and subsequent fallout and troop exposure following coalition bombings.  Czech and other Coalition chemical warfare specialized troops' detection of chemicals during the 1991 Gulf War air bombing campaign added further evidence to these findings.  

Ground troops' reported detection of mustard and other chemical warfare agents during breach operations in southern Kuwait and other occasions during the 1991 Gulf War were repeatedly denied as accurate by Pentagon officials.  However, with little or no evidence to back up their claims and repeated occasions of conclusive evidence disproving Pentagon officials' claims, many Gulf War troops and Congressional officials never believed these denials.

Some U.S. troops have specifically claimed mustard gas detection and exposure, including in Congressional hearings -- and including this author.  One U.S. soldier, PFC Fisher, developed a confirmed mustard agent burn to his skin near the northwestern Kuwait-Iraq border.  Pentagon officials predictably downplayed this additional evidence that Iraqi forces did indeed deploy chemical munitions onto the battlefield.  

In April 2010, an Institute of Medicine committee concluded in its report that 250,000 of the approximately 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffer from chronic multisymptom illness, popularly known as Gulf War Illness.  They further concluded that the illness is a unique diagnostic entity, that it "cannot be reliably ascribed to any psychiatric condition," and that it also affects other U.S. forces.  

It remains unclear whether mustard gas may play a role in the demonstrated increased rates of lung cancer among U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, who were also exposed to a veritable toxic soup of environmental toxins and hazards.  However, it is clear that mustard and its resultant carcinogenity cannot be ruled out as an exposure and risk for thousands of potentially exposed Gulf War veterans.


Immediate Opportunity for Medical Research Funding

An announcement from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program last week provided the following information on lung cancer medical research funding opportunities:


---------- message ----------
From: communications@cdmrp.org <communications@cdmrp.org>Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 9:36 AM
Subject: JUST RELEASED! FY 2012 DOD LCRP Program Announcements
The Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Defense Appropriations Act provides research funding for the peer reviewed programs managed by the Department of Defense (DOD) office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).  
This e-mail is to notify the research community of the recently released funding opportunities from the Lung Cancer Research Program. Detailed descriptions of each of the funding opportunities, evaluation criteria, and submission requirements can be found in the respective Program Announcements. 
Each Program Announcement is available electronically for downloading from the Grants.gov website (http://www.grants.gov), and will be  available within 48 hours on the CDMRP website (http://cdmrp.army.mil/funding/prgdefault.shtml) and the CDMRP eReceipt System (https://cdmrp.org). 
 -----------------------------------------------------------------
Lung Cancer Research Program newly released Program Announcements: -          

  • Idea Development Award     
  • Translational Research Partnership Award       
  • Concept Award (Will be released at a later date around the beginning of June 2012)   
All current and previous funding opportunities are available on the CDMRP website (http://cdmrp.army.mil).

Subsequent notifications will be sent when additional funding opportunities are released. A listing of all CDMRP funding opportunities can be obtained on the Grants.gov website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420.
Please do not respond directly to this message.  To be added or removed from this email list please send an email to help@cdmrp.org.

  
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Additional information on Lung Cancer and Gulf War and other veterans:





Sunday, April 15, 2012

Final list of Cosigners to the FY13 Kucinich-Roe GWI CDMRP Funding Dear Colleague Letter


The following is the final list of all Members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed onto the FY13 Kucinich-Roe "Dear Colleague" request to provide FY13 Gulf War Illness treatment Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Funding.

A copy of the actual signed letter is here.


1 Baldwin,Tammy
2 Berkley, Shelley
3 Bilirakis, Gus
4 Blumenauer, Earl
5 Boswell, Leonard
6 Braley, Bruce
7 Brown, Corrine
8 Carnahan, Russ
9 Carson, Andre
10 Chu, Judy
11 Cicilline, David
12 Conyers, John Jr.
13 Davis, Susan
14 DeFazio, Peter
15 DeGette, Diana
16 Doggett, Lloyd
17 Ellison, Keith
18 Filner, Bob
19 Fudge, Marcia
20 Gallegly, Elton
21 Gonzalez, Charles
22 Grijalva, Raul
23 Hastings, Alcee
24 Hirono, Mazie
25 Holt, Rush
26 Israel, Steve
27 Jackson, Jr., Jesse
28 Johnson, Bill
29 Johnson, Hank
30 Jones, Walter
31 Kind, Ron
32 Kissell, Larry
33 Kucinich, Dennis
34 Larsen, Rick
35 Lee, Barbara
36 Loebsack, Dave
37 Maloney, Carolyn
38 McCarthy, Carolyn
39 McDermott, Jim
40 McGovern, Jim
41 Michaud, Michael
42 Miller, Jeff
43 Moore, Gwen
44 Norton, Eleanor Holmes
45 Pascrell, Bill Jr.
46 Pingree, Chellie
47 Rangel, Charlie
48 Reyes, Silvestre
49 Richardson, Laura
50 Roe, Phil
51 Ruppersberger, C.A. Dutch
52 Ryan, Tim
53 Sablan, Gregorio Kilili Camacho
54 Schakowsky, Jan
55 Schrader, Kurt
56 Scott, Bobby
57 Slaughter, Louise
58 Speier, Jackie
59 Stark, Pete
60 Sutton, Betty
61 Turner, Michael
62 Van Hollen, Chris
63 Walz, Tim
64 Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
65 Welch, Peter

Monday, April 9, 2012

Veterans' Push for GWI Treatment Research Funding Spreads to U.S. Senate



Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes.com

April 8, 2012


(Washington, DC - 91outcomes.com) - This year's push for funding the Peer Reviewed Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), which last month garnered the largest number of House cosigners in the program's history, continues with a parallel Senate effort led by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and launched on Friday.  


In his letter requesting other U.S. Senators sign on to the "Dear Colleague" letter to Senate appropriations committee leaders and requesting $25 million in Fiscal Year 2013 Defense appropriations to adequately fund the program, Sanders notes, "over the past two years, three dramatic milestones have been achieved," the direct result of broad, bipartisan Congressional support for the program.  


Among those milestones are the 2010 recognition by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) -- essentially the high court of U.S. medical science -- that the Gulf War Illness "affecting 250,000 Gulf War veterans is a serious disease;" that IOM recognized GWI "affects other U.S. military forces;" and that, "the IOM report called for a major national research effort to identify treatments."  


The Sanders letter noted that, "the scientific community has responded with a dramatic increase in the quantity and quality of proposals submitted," to the GWI CDMRP.  According to CDMRP staff, scientific merit review scores for final applications for the most recent year (FY11) had increased on average by a full point since the program's first year (FY06) -- a remarkable achievement in such a short time and on just a five-point scale.  


Sanders also noted that, "most encouraging, GWIRP-funded researchers have completed the first successful pilot study of a medication to treat one of the major symptoms," of GWI -- post-exertional fatigue.  The study's principal investigator, Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California-San Diego, will be presenting her findings to another IOM committee on Thursday, April 12, at the National Academy of Sciences facilities in Irvine, Calif.  

The level of funding proposed by Sanders (and members of the House) would be sufficient to finally accomodate funding for all three highly promising interdisciplinary, inter-institutional GWI medical research consortia that have been in development for the last year, a long-sought goal of Gulf War veterans' health advocates.  


Sanders also notes in his letter that, "continued funding is essential for more pilot studies of promising treatments and diagnostic markers, for clinical trials of treatments shown effective in earlier pilot studies, and for the execution of collaborative treatment research plans developed by consortia of scientists funded in FY2010."


Launched on Friday afternoon after significant behind the scenes work by Senators, Senate staff, and Gulf War veterans' advocates, Sanders' target of $25 million in FY13 Congressionally directed Defense appropriations also carefully coincides with the specifically recommended $25 million funding level by Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Gulf War Veterans and Health chair Dr. Stephen Hauser  in letters to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Haw.) and Ranking Member Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).  It also coincides with the $25 million level recommended by the Congressionally mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC-GWVI) in its groundbreaking November 2008 report


The FY13 Independent Budget, authored by four of the largest veterans service organizations (VSO's) including DAV, VFW, PVA, and AMVETS and supported by nearly 60 other organizations, contains equally strong support of the GWI CDMRP:  "For FY 2013, the IBVSOs urge Congress to provide the funding level necessary for this research program to achieve the critical objectives of improving the health and lives of Gulf War veterans."


To date, VA research funding officials have tended to fund Gulf War related research proposals by researchers working alone, who must also be VA employees. VA's Office of Research and Development has been invited to collaborate with the GWI CDMRP -- which among other unique and efficient aspects, is open to any researcher anywhere -- to help advance GWI treatments and to ensure more efficient use of resources, particularly with research conducted by VA employees that could be funded through VA's existing mechanisms. CDMRP panelists and RAC members alike have expressed hope that VA might be able to aid in a renewed effort based on more recent evidence helping to unravel some of GWI's previous mysteries, including discoveries of neurological damage, neuro-immune dysregulation, and a chronic inflammatory state in GWI patients.


The three consortia currently in development involve dozens of key researchers from a multitude of research institutions and labs, and are aimed squarely at treatments for Gulf War Illness patients.  Most are not VA employees and are therefore not eligible for VA research funding.


The consensus among GWI medical researchers is increasingly clear, including as publicly expressed by all three RAC scientific directors past and present:  With the right efforts, effective treatments can indeed be found for the neurologically-rooted GWI.   


Gulf War veterans and their advocates were successful in garnering 65 cosigners -- by far the most ever in the history of the program -- on a similar bipartisan effort in the U.S. House of Representatives led in March by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.) and Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.).  Among the cosignatories was Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.  


After much behind the scenes meeting and coordinating, it is now up to veterans and their advocates to help convince their Senators to sign on to the Sanders "Dear Colleague" request to provide $25 million in FY13 Defense appropriations for the Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.  


The deadline is Wednesday, April 18.






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WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ's)




WHAT IS THE GOAL?


The overall goal is to develop effective treatments for the officially estimated one-quarter million veterans of the 1991 Gulf War along with other U.S. forces who are suffering from the debilitating chronic multi-symptom illness commonly know as Gulf War Illness.
Gulf War veterans were directly impacted by a veritable toxic soup of hazardous exposures during the short but intense war, and deserve every bit as much help as veterans as our nation is giving to those who suffer wartime and other service-related amputations, PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
With the official recognition that GWI also affects other U.S. forces, the impetus for this treatment program has become even broader.  


WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? 

You can send an web-based message, email, call, or write both of your two elected U.S. Senators.   
If you do, request that he or she sign on to the Sanders "Dear Colleague" letter supporting $25 million in FY13 Defense Appropriations for the Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. 
Each Senator has an option allowing constituents to submi comments from a quick form right on their webpage.  The full listing of U.S. Senators, along with direct links to their web forms, is available from this link.  




IS THERE A LIST OF ALL U.S. SENATORS WITH PHONE NUMBERS?


Yes.  The U.S. Senate maintains a list of all U.S. Senators, including contact information, at:  http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm 
Additionally, a listing that shows which Senators signed on to the FY11 request is available at:   
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aik6uoBjwDgZdFRUMTV5QkdnX0NCY0hUTE8tV2xkS2c 
If your Senator signed on in the past, tell the staffer that -- they may not know that -- and ask that the Senator simply sign on again as they have in the past.


AT WHAT LEVEL SHOULD THE FUNDING BE SUPPORTED, AND WHY?


Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is requesting $25 million for FY13 for the GWI CDMRP, which coincides with the $25 million recommended in an April 2010 letter by the IOM Gulf War and Health committee chair and in the November 2008 report of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC-GWVI).  
This dovetails with the request of many of the nation's largest veterans service organizations in their FY13 Independent Budget (p. 128) and with the level supported by most House cosigners.  
Sanders also notes in his letter that, "continued funding is essential for more pilot studies of promising treatments and diagnostic markers, for clinical trials of treatments shown effective in earlier pilot studies, and for the execution of collaborative treatment research plans developed by consortia of scientists funded in FY2010." 




WHEN CAN I START CONTACTING MY U.S. SENATORS?


Now.




WHEN IS THE DEADLINE? 


The deadline for U.S. Senators to sign on to the Sanders "Dear Colleague" letter is Wednesday, April 18, 2012.




IS THERE A SIMILAR EFFORT IN THE HOUSE?  SHOULD I ALSO CONTACT MY CONGRESSMAN/CONGRESSWOMAN?


A parallel effort in the House for this year, led by U.S. Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.) and Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) has already concluded, with 65 cosigners -- the greatest number ever in the brief history of this critically important treatment development program.





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ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS



HASN'T ENOUGH ALREADY BEEN SPENT ON GULF WAR RESEARCH?



According to the November 2008 RAC report (p. 292):  
"As pointed out in the Committee’s 2004 report, if progress in the Gulf War research effort were to be measured by the number of dollars spent, or the number of projects funded, it might be argued that the federal government has mounted an impressive research effort on behalf of ill Gulf War veterans. But the Committee is committed to assessing federal Gulf War research in terms of its scientific merit and progress made in improving the health of ill veterans. Although substantial funding has been allocated for studies identified as “Gulf War research” by federal agencies since 1994, the Committee has identified significant problems related to the effective use and management of these funds."
January 2012 RAC staff analysis found that very little of the funding designated by VA officials as "Gulf War Research" was actually related to GWI or even specific to Gulf War veterans.
In other words, with the exception of this fledgling program -- the earliest of its first year's funded studies are just now beginning to have results -- very little of the federal government's spending on research related to Gulf War veterans and GWI patients has been aimed at treatments to improve their health and lives.




WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GWI CDMRP?


The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), a Congressionally directed activity funded under the U.S. Department of Defense, has a comprehensive website on the GWI program at:  http://cdmrp.army.mil/gwirp .
 The CDMRP also publishes an overview of the GWI program in its GWIRP program booklet.  






I'M A MEDICAL RESEARCHER, WHEN WILL RESEARCH FUNDING BE AVAILABLE?


The CDMRP provided a GWI research program pre-announcement on Jan. 27, 2012 to allow investigators time to plan and develop applications for FY12 funding. 
Pre-applications are due April 9, and full proposals for those invited to submit them are due July 24.  
Funding for the FY13 program would be available early next year.