Thursday, May 30, 2013

WAMC NE RADIO: Sweeping Sand Under the Rug

Source:  WAMC Northeast Radio (Sean Philpott editorializing)  

Sean Philpott: Sweeping Sand Under The Rug

This past weekend was the Memorial Day holiday, traditionally marking the official start of the summer season. But Memorial Day is more than just barbeques with friends and three-day sales at local department stores. Memorial Day is also the day when we honor the more than one million men and women who have died in combat or from injuries received while serving in the US armed forces. Among those we honor are the nearly 75,000 who have died since serving in the 1991 Persian Gulf War (also known as Operation Desert Storm).
Now, that number may seem surprising. After all, coalition forces suffered few casualties during the liberation of Kuwait.  Less than 300 American soldiers were killed on the battlefield, and only 114 of those were caused by enemy fire. The rest were accidents or friendly fire.
In the two decades since the Persian Gulf War, however, many of those who served  (as well as many of the civilian contractors who supported the war effort) have been come down with a chronic disorder known as Gulf War Syndrome. Characterized by a diffuse set of symptoms -- fatigue, headache, memory loss, muscle pain and weakness, arthritis and joint pain, and respiratory problems -- the disease now appears to afflict over a quarter of a million Gulf War veterans, or nearly a third of those who served in Operation Desert Storm. Of those affected, activists estimate, over 70,000 have died.
The disease itself is somewhat controversial. Several studies published in the mid-1990s found no evidence that those who served in the Gulf had increased rates of illness, hospitalization or death, at least when compared with veterans who served in other theaters of operation.  Based on these and other data, in 1996 the Institute of Medicine (the clinical arm of the US National Academies of Science) concluded that there was no evidence of a unique chronic illness associated with military service in the Gulf. Despite this, and armed with an additional twelve years of data, in 2008 a federal panel known as the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses announced that Gulf War Syndrome is indeed a distinct physical condition.
The cause of Gulf War Syndrome is also unclear. Some blame exposure to Sarin gas or other chemical weapons stockpiled by the Iraqi government. While there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein's troops ever used chemical weapons against the coalition forces, many soldiers may have been inadvertently exposed during demolition of these weapons during and after the war.
Others suspect that the cause of Gulf War Syndrome is exposure to organophosphate pesticides used to prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases common in the Gulf.  Still others blame the pyridostigmine bromide pills given to troops to protect against nerve gas, or the depleted uranium ammunition used by troops, or the toxic smoke produced when Iraqi troops set the oil fields on fire.
We may never know the cause of Gulf War Syndrome. This is particularly true since the US Veterans Administration (the VA) seems reluctant to study the disease or its causes. Doing so could put the Agency on the hook for billions of dollars in treatment costs. Not surprising then that the Agency is keen to prevent or suppress such research, at least according to testimony presented by former VA epidemiologist-turned-whistleblower Dr. Stephen Coughlin at a recent Congressional hearing.
According to Dr. Coughlin, the Agency prevents VA-supported researchers from publishing "anything that supports the position that Gulf War Illness is a neurological condition." It also refuses to release data from the ten-year National Health Study of a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, a multimillion dollar study of nearly 60,000 Gulf, Iraq and Afghan war vets.
Similarly, the Agency has also never published the results of the National Cohort of Gulf War and Gulf War Veterans study, a medical survey of some 30,000 Desert Storm vets. Finally, in an act that is either the height of hubris or the height of incompetence, the Agency "lost" over ten years of data from the Gulf War family registry, a Congressionally-mandated study to look for congenital disorders among the children of vets, birth defects that may have been caused by exposure to chemical weapons or other wartime environmental hazards.
What's surprising to me that Dr. Coughlin's explosive testimony has not engendered more anger on Capitol Hill. His allegations that officials at the VA -- the very federal agency whose job it is to provide treatment and care for veterans and their dependents -- may have deliberately suppressed research into the causes of Gulf War Syndrome are shocking. This accusation deserves to be investigated and, if proven to be true, immediate action to correct the grave harm to those suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, those who have died of the disease, and their families.
For 22 years now, sick veterans have been told that they are crazy, accused of being hypochondriacs, or denied benefits because their condition is not related to wartime service. It may turn out, however, that none of that is true. Rather, as has happened too many times before, the government may have sacrificed the health and well-being of military veterans in order to save a couple of bucks. That's not only shameful, it goes against everything those soldiers fought and died for.
A public health researcher and ethicist by training, Dr. Sean Philpott is Director of Research Ethics for the Bioethics program at Union Graduate College-Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Schenectady, New York.  He is also Acting Director of Union Graduate College's Center for Bioethics and Clinical Leadership, and Project Director of its Advanced Certificate Program for Research Ethics in Central and Eastern Europe.
The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

ABC News: Obama must 'step up' to shrink disability benefits backlog

Source: ABC News, "Power Players" blog (Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, and Jordyn Phelps)

Vets advocate: Obama must ‘step up’ to shrink disability benefits backlog

Top Line
With nearly 900,000 veterans waiting to hear from the Veterans Administration about disability benefits claims—and the average wait time stretching to almost 300 days—the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is calling on the president to make policy changes that will help diminish the backlog.
IAVA’s Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino tells Top Line that, while the White House says President Obama is keeping a close eye on the situation, veterans needs proof that real change is on the horizon.
“What we need is the commander-in-chief to step up and say ‘Look, there is a plan,’” Tarantino tells Top Line, “and we have to articulate a plan that's actually measurable so that those of us in the veteran’s service community, as well as every vet out there, can actually see how we're going to go from point A to point B to point C and get rid of the backlog.”
Tarantino explains that the backlog of veterans waiting for the VA to respond to their disability claims is due in large part to an outdated processing system.
“Right now you have 97% of the claims at the VA still on paper,” he explains, “they are transitioning to an electronic record system by the end of the year. But the problem is we still have nearly 600,000 claims that are sitting right now.”
The struggle to attain disability benefits isn’t new to the veterans’ community, but Tarantino says the “decades-old” problem has gotten much worse in recent years. Veterans currently on the backlog wait an average of 273 days for the VA to process their claims, and Tarantino says some wait as many as 600 days for a response.
The wait for benefits, Tarantino explains, forces vets to essentially put their life on hold. “What that means is that we are not keeping the promise to the servicemen who went to Iraq and Afghanistan, and also the servicemen who went to Vietnam and Korea and World War II, who are also stuck in the backlog,” he tells Top Line.
Another part of the problem, Tarantino says, is a lack of integrated health records between departments.
“It's absolutely insane that health records can't talk between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs,” he says, suggesting that President Obama mandate the integration of the both departments’ electronic health record once the VA’s transition is complete.
For more of the interview with Tarantino, including how doctors categorize veterans’ disabilities when evaluating their benefits claims, check out this episode of Top Line.
ABC’s Alexandra Dukakis, Eric Wray, Ginny Vicario and Mary Quinn contributed to this episode.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

NORA EISENBERG: On Memorial Day, it’s time to make sure our veterans suffering from burn pit diseases get the care they need

SOURCE:  Raw Story, Nora Eisenberg writing

On Memorial Day, it’s time to make sure our veterans suffering from burn pit diseases get the care they need
By Nora Eisenberg
Friday, May 24, 2013 12:04 EDT
["Men's Tears. Marine U.S. Army In Sorrow. Soldier'S Longing. Love Of Country.  Sadness For The Victims" on Shutterstock]

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This Memorial Day weekend, amid barbeques and picnics, many Americans will make time to remember the troops that have died in the twelve years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the number, 6,521, tells only part of the price our troops have paid. The longest wars in U.S. history have actually claimed far fewer American lives than our other extended foreign wars in the past century (WWI: 116,516; WWII: 405,399; Korea: 36,574; and Vietnam: 58,220). It’s in the living that we see the full catastrophic toll of our recent wars on our service men and women. Over 900,000 of the 1.6 million veterans of these wars are patients in the VA system, and over 800,000 have applied for disability benefits. The dead are at peace, we hope, but the living casualties still suffer the wounds of war.
Traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, amputations, burns and facial disfiguration -— all these we have seen on our TV screens, however fleetingly. But another signature injury that has scrawled its misery across veterans’ lives remains largely unknown. It goes by different names — Burn Pit disease, Gulf War 2 Syndrome, Iraq and Afghanistan War Lung Injury, Post-Deployment Illness — but what veterans and contract workers who have it, and the small cadre of physician-scientists dedicated to understanding and treating it, agree on is that, like Gulf War Illness, its cause is wartime toxic exposure. An inhalational injury, it attacks the airways and lungs first, and then can wound most every other organ and system. “Burn pits were constant,” Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said, and most everyone was exposed to them “sometime during their deployment.” In 2009, the military admitted that as many as 360,000 veterans may have suffered traumatic brain injury, an, in turn, established programs for research and treatment. But about the systemic disease of our recent wars, the brass is admitting — and doing — almost nothing.
Thousands of sick veterans trace their illness to the burn pits, which the military as well as their contractors KBR and Halliburton used — instead of closed incinerators — to process garbage on US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Acres wide and hundreds of feet deep, the open furnaces burned day and night, morphing solid human waste, body parts, blood specimens, plastic water bottles, Styrofoam plates, Humvees, computers and more into black fumes and ash that covered the sky and ground. In the earliest grades, young children learn that solids and liquids when heated at high temperatures becomes gases, and that there are certain things we do not burn in the open air because they become poison gases, which can make us sick or dead.
The torments endured by Captain LeRoy Torres, a Texas state trooper and Army Reservist, are alarming but not uncommon. Stationed at Balad Air Base, the biggest base with the baddest pit, LeRoy immediately felt sick, but the “black goop” that he and the soldiers around him were hacking up was just a sign of “Iraq Crud,” caused by a passing irritation to desert air, commanders said. But back home, LeRoy coughed and wheezed constantly and unable to work or walk more than a few feet, he went from doctor to doctor, from local facilities to the VA War Disease Center in DC. Respiratory infection, mild asthma maybe, the doctors said, as their CT scans and spirometry showed no pathology and they were unaware of war-zone associated lung disease. Finally, a lung biopsy diagnosed constrictive bronchiolitis, a debilitating and often degenerative lung disease associated with inhaling industrial chemicals. Today, LeRoy has spleen cysts and a brain lesion, suffers excruciating headaches and is bed-bound most days. A registry that his wife, Rosie, founded to document and help the many troops suffering profound illness they trace to the burn pits now has thousands of names, though sadly some on the list have died, a couple from cancer.
As early as 2006, Lt. Col. Darrin Curtis, a bioenvironmental flight commander at Balad, warned of “an acute health hazard” of exposure to toxins and “chronic” health hazards from the smoke of the base pit. In 2007 Army and Air Force health teams found dioxin at 51 times the EPA’s acceptable levels and cancer risk from exposure to dioxins at eight times acceptable levels for people at the base for more than a year. They also found particulate matter at 50 times the acceptable levels — a high toxicity associated with premature death and serious disease of most every organ according to Dr. Anthony Szema, an allergist and pulmonologist at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and pioneer in the field of post-deployment lung disease. “It’s clear that the burn pits spewed health-threatening toxins into the air,” Dr. Szema said. “Burning plastic, styrofoam, and jet fuel, widely used as a pit fire accelerant, yields known carcinogens. Burning medical waste and body parts and solid waste in the open air can disperse dangerous microbes. And burning computers and other electronics yields metal particulate matter, from aluminum to lead to titanium.” Dr. Szema and his colleagues, who are studying biopsied lung tissue of post-deployment pulmonary patients, have identified what they’re calling “titanium lung.” In the condition, lung tissue is riddled with titanium in a form (bound to iron in a fixed ratio not found in nature) thought to be from toxic exposures such as those pluming from burn pits.
The pit fumes, though a prime and powerful offender on their own, appear to often operate with accomplices — the distinctly fine sand of Iraq and Afghanistan and the extreme winds and sandstorms brought on by climate change. “A working theory is that extreme winds disperse fumes and ash from the base to the outlying desert,” Dr. Szema said. “The toxins attach to and infiltrate the fine sand, which barreling tanks and more winds and sandstorms further disperse over great distances, in the form of sand dust.” And the research is bearing this out. Dr. Szema’s team has exposed mice to Iraq sand dust and found “titanium lung” along with reduced immune function. Captain Mark Lyles, a scientist at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., has studied the sand of the region and found viruses, funghi, bacteria and heavy metals linked to a host of serious and potentially deadly diseases. Dr. Robert Miller at Vanderbilt, who performed LeRoy Torres’s biopsy, has found metal particulates in the scarred tissue of veterans with the same severe constrictive bronchiolitis LeRoy suffers. As Dr. Miller and his colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, the vast majority of the veterans whose lungs they’ve biopsied have the disabling disease.
The VA and DoD have stopped sending pulmonary patients to Dr. Miller for lung biopsies and its own facilities do not perform them, viewing them as an undue expense of taxpayer money for a what will prove a largely minor and temporary condition.
Powerful and deceitful governmental bureaucracies vs sick troops and veterans — it’s a repeated plot in the tragic drama of war. In 2008, Michael Kilpatrick MD, the Deputy Director of the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Health Protection and Readiness said that the military had done extensive sampling of the air in Balad but had “not identified anything, where there are troops, where it would have been hazardous to their health.” And as Deputy Director of the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illness, Dr. Kilpatrick similarly denied obvious scientific findings. Steve Robinson of the National Gulf War Resource Center charges that during Dr. Kilpatrick’s five years in charge of oversight of research and treatment for Gulf War Illness, the office spent $25 million but failed to even issue research reports, let alone develop treatment programs. According the General Accounting Office, Kilpatrick’s fixed position that psychological stress alone could explain Gulf War Illness discouraged scientists from even applying for research funds, and thwarted progress. Pioneering scientists in the field, like epidemiologist Dr. Robert Haley at Southwestern Texas University, depended on private funding from millionaire Ross Perot for his investigations of the biological origins of Gulf War Illness, which as early as 1998 had suggested that brain injury from wartime toxins was the source of the problem.
With only occasional breaks, the VA and DoD have evaded responsibility for medically ill veterans from Desert Storm. In 2008, after extensive re-examination of scientific investigation, a group of high-level scientists making up the congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee (RAC) for Gulf War Illness concluded that the cause of the illness plaguing more than 200,000 veterans was not psychological but physical. While depleted uranium was not ruled out, neurotoxins that the military had released through experimental anti-nerve gas pills, as well as pesticides and sarin gas from bombed Iraqi munitions facilities were the exposures most conclusively linked to the multi-symptom, multi-system conditions of Gulf War Illness. The RAC, headed by eminent Boston University neruoscientist Dr. Roberta White, urged quick action on the VA’s part not only because ill Gulf War veterans had been neglected for years but because veterans of the new wars were returning reporting similar symptoms. This January, the RAC charged the VA with still promulgating “fictions” that Gulf War Illness’s causes were unknown and could be psychosomatic despite the RAC’s clear determinations five years earlier.
In March, a leading VA epidemiologist told a House Veterans Affairs Subcommitteethat VA officials routinely manipulate or hide data linking exposure to wartime toxins and Gulf War Illness, as well as illnesses emerging in veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Dr. Steven Coughlin, who resigned his post last December, testified that VA’s Office of Public Health buried and even destroyed data that demonstrated the organic nature of veterans’ illnesses in both the earlier and more recent wars. His own research showing a “sizable percentage” of veterans had been exposed to burn pits and a significant association of exposure with pulmonary disease was quashed, and important data of congenital disorders in children of Gulf War veterans has gone missing “permanently,” he’s been told. Dr. Coughlin said his conscience forced him to leave a VA sick with “an epidemic of serious ethical problems.”
President Obama promised that the burn pits of Iraq and Afghanistan will not be America’s new Agent Orange. But neither the President nor Congress has put forth any comprehensive treatment or research programs for victims of burn pits and other war-zone exposures. In large part through Rosie Torres’s lobbying, the VA must now establish a national burn pit registry — just a start for gathering data. But there is nothing to mandate benefits or treatment for veterans who register.
In addition, Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-NY) is currently developing legislation that would establish centers of excellence for treating burn pit injuries and diseases, like those established in 2011 for veterans with traumatic brain injury. Hopefully, Congress will do the right thing and found and fund such centers, where veterans with profound post-deployment disease can benefit from state-of-the-art research and therapies—without bureaucrats’ obstruction.
But still more is needed. Compensation, of course, as well as full and permanent benefits for those afflicted with systemic post-deployment illness, instead of the need to file claims symptom-by-symptom until the veteran gives up or dies. And certainly an investigation into the relationshipbetween PTSD and toxic exposures (which are linked to neurological damage and psychiatric symptoms) But none of these can be accomplished without resecting and disinfecting a morally diseased bureaucracy.
In the wake of the VA backlog scandal, four high-level VA officials resigned in the last month. Will VA’s obfuscation of science and denial of medical services provoke comparable outrage and shake-ups? Will there be resignations? Investigations? What do we even call it when a government sickens hundreds of thousands of its own and then hides the truth, purposely thwarting scientific study and medical treatment? A human rights violation? Amnesty International tells us that victims of extraordinary acts of systematic and extreme cruelty “have a right to know the whole truth about the crimes they suffered and the reasons behind it” and the affected society has a right to know “the circumstances surrounding and reasons that led to violations being committed to ensure that they will not be committed again.”
On Memorial Day and every day, Americans have a right to know about the environmental and health disasters our government and its contractors inflicted on our own service men and women and why, and the right to be sure it will never happen again.
Nora Eisenberg’s articles, interviews, and fiction have appeared in the Village Voice, Tikkun, theLos Angeles TimesThe NationThe Guardian and Alternet, among others. Her novels include The War at Home,a Washington Post “Rave Book of the Year” in 2002; Just the Way You Want Me, theForeword Magazine’s Fiction Book of the Year 2004; and When You Come Home (Curbstone, 2009), a Grubb Street Fiction Prize finalist. Eisenberg, who holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, is academic director of the Faculty Publications Program at the City University of New York.
["Men's Tears. Marine U.S. Army In Sorrow. Soldier'S Longing. Love Of Country. Sadness For The Victims" on Shutterstock]

Monday, May 20, 2013

STARS AND STRIPES: VA Researcher Quits Over Alleged VA Deployment Health Research Coverup

In the story below, the well deserved press blasting VA continues.  The story below is yet another in the dozens regarding former senior VA researcher-turned-whistleblower Steve Coughlin's serious allegations regarding VA's mishandling and "research" coverup of Gulf War and other deployment health issues.  

VA's many failures of Gulf War veterans were addressed in an appropriately critical March 13th Congressional investigative and oversight hearing.  This one is in Stars and Stripes, a leading publication for current military forces.  One can only imagine the impact on troop morale of such sadly accurate news coverage regarding the federal government's ineptitude and covering up of serious deployment health outcomes.

To date, there has been no public announcement from VA Secretary Eric Shinkeki regarding how -- or if -- he has heard the message loud and clear and is pledging to correct these many serious wrongs.  That is the story that should be published in troop publications like Stars and Stripes.  

Instead, it's just more about VA's continued failures of Gulf War veterans, where 22 years after the war VA still has no effective treatments for Gulf War Illness, in several key offices still denies Gulf War Illness as a unique and identifiable condition even exists, and without a serious shakeup in VA's research and public health offices remains worthy of last year's "No Confidence" finding by the federal advisory body responsible for overseeing Gulf War health research efforts.

When will VA get it right?



SOURCE:  Stars and Stripes, via The (Panama City, Fla.) News Herald.  Randal Yakey reporting

VA researcher quits over burn pit studies

PANAMA CITY — Steven Coughlin had enough. He packed up and left D.C.
Coughlin was a research epidemiologist who was working on behalf of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. When he found the impact of burn pits on veterans was going to be left out of a study he was working on, he quit, packed his bags and moved out West.
“I just couldn’t go along with what they were doing,” Coughlin said.  
In a series of emails between him and his boss, Aaron Scheniederman, that were obtained by The News Herald, the two clashed over what was being released and what was being held back from public view.
“There were areas of this study that were completely ignored,” said Coughlin, who resigned after he was told to ignore information regarding burn pits in the Middle East.
Coughlin said anything that linked the burn pits to lung problems in military personnel was to be left out of the study.
“My direct supervisor, Aaron Scheniederman, told me to ignore information on asthma or bronchitis,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin said he was harassed and threatened with repercussions to his professional career if he continued to push for the burn pit impact to service members be added to the study.
Coughlin said his information shows as many as 30,000 veterans of the conflicts in the Middle East suffered health effects from burn pits.
The VA issued a statement regarding Coughlin’s allegations: “The department depends on this research to inform our decisions and guide our efforts in caring for Gulf War Veterans. All allegations of malfeasance are taken seriously and are investigated fully.
“The secretary has directed the Office of Research Oversight to review the allegations and report their findings. VA is precluded by the Privacy Act from discussing personnel matters concerning individual employees.”

RENO DISPATCH: Gulf War Chemical Weapons Lawsuit Slowed

( - Award winning journalist Jamie Reno has an exclusive story today on the Reno Dispatch that the lawsuit related to chemical weapons exposures during the 1991 Gulf War has been slowed in the legal process.

According to Reno's reporting, the plaintiff's lead attorney, Gary Pitts, says:

"this case involves our war veterans and the ongoing threat to all of us of chemical weapons, and we're cautiously optimistic that the appellate courts will take a very hard look at the evidence in this case, and not come to the harsh result that Dr. Alarcon and the other veterans that can be proven to have mustard gas injuries cannot even have a trial on the matter with a jury in Texas," Pitts says. 
Pitts adds that there is "plenty of evidence to have a trial and win this case with any jury in Texas."

Read Reno's full story on what's happening with this important lawsuit here:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Comment of the Week: Treatments Needed Now for Gulf War Illness

The following highly articulate comment was made here on 91outcomes, calling for treatments for Gulf War Illness, says what so many Gulf War veterans are feeling.

Well said, Peter Greene.



Peter Greene has left a new comment on your post "NBC NEWS: Imaging study may show brain changes in...": 

Brain scans such as the fMRI are consistently showing brain damage and decreased blood flow in the brain of ill Gulf War Veteran's (GWV's). I think the question of what caused this type of damage will never be definitively answered given the large amount of variables any researcher has to consider. Add 22 years into the equation and the task becomes almost impossible. Even with generalized agreement that the likely culprits in deployed GWV's was exposure to a variety of toxic agents that acted in a synergistic manner, we still have no proven treatment regimens.

While I, for one, would like to see a hard, undeniable verdict as to the cause of Gulf War Illness (GWI), I think it is far more important at this stage to start seeking treatments now that we can see the damage to the brain. That is assuming that the damage to the nervous system and brain can be treated. However, like other neurological diseases such as MS and ALS, I do not think current medicine can reverse and possibly not even stop the ongoing neurological deterioration without groundbreaking research. My personal experience is that simply trying to treat the symptoms of GWI with standard medical practices is wholly inadequate and in some cases has done more harm than good.

Frankly, I don't care anymore if anyone else believes my complaints outside of my doctors and fellow veterans. There are 250,000 of us who have to deal with this and if the rest of the population doesn't understand it, so be it. Our greatest hope now lies in the dedication of the research scientists that are working tirelessly on our behalf. 

Perhaps a breakthrough treatment is just around the corner. I hope so anyway. 

Posted by Peter Greene to at May 17, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Friday, May 17, 2013

RAC Meeting Agenda for June Public Meetings Announced

Call in information:  1-800-767-1750, access code: 44644#.

Meeting of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses
June 17-18, 2013

Department of Veteran Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, Room 230, Washington, DC 

Monday, June 17, 2013

8:00 – 8:25     Informal gathering, coffee

8:25 – 8:30     Welcome, introductory remarks                Mr. Jim Binns, Chairman
                                                                                                Res Adv Cmte Gulf War Illnesses

8:30 – 9:15     Genomic instability in Gulf War               Dr. Henry Heng
                         Illness                                                                       Wayne State University

9:15 -10:00     Gulf War Era Cohort and Biorepository   Dr. Dawn Provenzale
                        Study (CSP #585) update                             Durham VA Medical Center

10:00 – 10:15 Break

10:15 – 11:00 Lipidomic and proteomic profiles               Dr. Fiona Crawford
of GWI animal models                                             Tampa VA Medical Center
11:00 – 11:45 Neuroimaging biomarkers in Gulf War    Rakib Rayhan
                         Illness                                                                       Georgetown University 

11:45 - 12:45  Lunch

12:45 – 1:30   Mifepristone treatment trial of                  Dr. Julia Golier
                        Gulf War multisymptom illness                Bronx VA Medical Center

1:30 – 3:00     Committee and Panel Discussion:             Mr. Jim Binns, Chairman
                        Treatment development discussion                        Dr. Kimberly Sullivan, Assoc. Scientific Dir.       
                                                                                                Res. Adv Cmte Gulf War Illnesses
3:00 – 3:15     Break

3:15 – 5:00     Committee Discussion:                                           Mr. Jim Binns, Chairman
                        2013 Committee Report                               Dr. Roberta White, Scientific Director     
                                                                                                Res. Adv Cmte Gulf War Illnesses

5:00 – 5:30     Public comment                                           

Meeting of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses
June 17-18, 2013

Department of Veteran Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, Room 230, Washington, DC 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

8:00 – 8:30     Informal gathering, coffee

8:30 – 9:30     Update of VA ORD Gulf War research      Dr. Victor Kalasinsky
                        Portfolio                                                         Dr. Robert Jaeger
                                                                                                Dr. Timothy O’Leary
                                                                                                VA Office of Research and development

9:30 – 10:30  Update of OPH Gulf War Research                       Dr. Victoria Davey
                        Program                                                         VA Office of Public Health

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 - 11:30  Federal Advisory Committee Ethics                      Mr. Jonathan Gurland

11:30 – 12:00 Committee Discussion                                             Mr. Jim Binns, Chairman              
                                                                                                            Dr. Roberta White, Scientific Director                 
                                                                                                Dr. Kimberly Sullivan, Assoc. Scientific Dir.
Res Adv Cmte Gulf War Illnesses
12:00 – 12:30 Public comment                                                       

12:30                           Adjourn