Text of the FY14 Roe-Kucinich Dear Colleague Letter to fund the treatment-focused Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for another year:
Support Gulf War Illness Research
From: The Honorable Michael H. Michaud
Sent By: Nora Todd
Date: 3/27/2013Deadline April 5, 2013Dear Colleague:We invite you to join us in sending a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging continued support in FY 2014 for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.Many 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 veterans age, they are at double the risk for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease as their non-deployed peers. There may also be connections to Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. Unfortunately, there are no known treatments for the lifelong pain these veterans endure.On March 21, 2013 Georgetown University published a groundbreaking report that demonstrates the success and effectiveness of GWIRP. Funded by the program, the study found that veterans who suffer from Gulf War Illness have physical changes in their brains that may account for pain from actions as simple as putting on a shirt. More research must be done, but this study was an important step forward in understanding the illness that is believed to affect veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as well. We are requesting continued funding for the GWIRP to help our veterans get the answers and the care they need.This request has the endorsement of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, and Veterans for Common Sense.Please contact Colin Wilhelm in Rep. Roe’s office or Nora Todd in Rep. Michaud’s office for more information or to sign this letter.Sincerely,/s/
/s/Phil Roe Michael H. MichaudMember of Congress Member of CongressApril xx, 2013The Honorable C.W. Young The Honorable Pete ViscloskyChairman Ranking MemberDefense Appropriations Subcommittee Defense Appropriations SubcommitteeH-307, The Capitol 1016 Longworth House Office BuildingWashington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515Dear Chairman Young and Ranking Member Visclosky: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 $20 million awarded to the program for FY2013. As the Subcommittee begins work on the FY 2014 Appropriations bill for the Department of Defense, we are pleased to point out the dramatic progress made by the program during the past three 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. The IOM report called for a major national research effort to identify treatments. In January 2013 a new report, also from IOM, confirmed that, “preliminary data suggest that [the illness] is occurring in veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well." Most recently, on March 21, 2013, Georgetown University published a groundbreaking study that found that veterans who suffer from Gulf War Illness have physical changes in their brains that may account for pain from actions as simple as putting on a shirt.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, a bipartisan amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 provided $10 million for the program, and a bipartisan amendment to the 2013 Act provided $20 million for the program. The $10 million increase in FY13 offset a corresponding $10 million reduction in Gulf War illness research at the Department of Veterans Affairs.We appreciate the support you have given to make this progress possible and respectfully seek your support in FY 2014 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 FY 2010.This small yet effective program warrants support, even in a time of fiscal austerity. The GWIRP 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, the Veterans Affairs (VA) research programs are open only to VA doctors, few of whom have expertise in chronic multisymptom illness. Because of the lack of interested and qualified researchers, VA cut its Gulf War research budget from $15 to $5 million in FY13.Furthermore, the program is working. CDMRP-funded researchers at the University of California, San Diego, reported in June 2011 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. This discovery is not a cure, and more work needs to be done to address this illness that affects 250,000 Gulf War veterans. We respectfully request that you provide the necessary resources to accomplish this vital program.This request has the endorsement of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, and Veterans for Common Sense.