Sunday, March 30, 2014

**ACTION ALERT** -- Final Push for Cosigners to Support CDMRP GWI Treatment Research Program for One More Year

The "Dear Colleague" letter below is being circulated in the U.S. House of Representatives, seeking cosigners to support the treatment-focused Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).  Because this program is directed by Congress, it must be specifically renewed each year in order to continue.

The deadline for Members of Congress to sign on is noon on Tuesday, April 1st.   

Please contact your Representative in the U.S. House and ask that he or she sign on to the Roe-Michaud Dear Colleague for FY15 Gulf War Illness CDMRP treatment research funding.  

As noted in the Roe-Michaud "Dear Colleague" letter below, the program is supported by the Independent Budget, including the four VSO authoring organizations and 53 other veteran-related organizations that support the Independent Budget. 


p.s. -- Please note that this is only in the U.S. House of Representatives right now, so only contact your Representative at this time, not your U.S. Senators.  A similar Senate effort will be coming soon.  


Breaking News Gulf War Illness Not in Veterans’ Heads, But in Their Mitochondria  Neuroscience News March 28, 2014

Researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine have demonstrated for the first time that veterans of the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War who suffer from “Gulf War illness” have impaired function of mitochondria – the energy powerhouses of cells.

Last Call to Support Gulf War Illness Research
Dear Colleague:
We urge you to join us in sending a letter (text below) to the House Appropriations Committee urging continued support in FY 2015 for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). 
The March 28 announcement (noted above) from UCSD was funded, in part, by DOD.  Progress is being made but we need to ensure that this effort, which is vital to improve the health of Gulf War veterans and to protect the health of current and future American forces at risk of similar exposures, continues. 
Please contact Alex Large in Rep. Roe’s office or Jane Calderwood in Rep. Michaud’s office for more information or to sign this letter. 
 Phil Roe, Member of Congress                                  Michael H. Michaud, Member of Congress

Deadline:  Noon April 1st
2013 Cosigners Who Haven’t Signed Yet, Buchanan, Coffman, Crowley, Defazio, DeGette,  Graves, Grijalva, Heck, Henry Johnson, Jr., Kind, Levin, John Lewis, Loebsack,  Sean Patrick Maloney, Jeff Miller, Nolan, O’Rourke, Pascrell, Peters, Pocan,  Schiff, Sires, Speier, Vargas, Welch, Wilson

2014 Cosigners:  Barber, Benishek,  Bentivolio, Brady, Braley, Corrine Brown, Brownley,  Blumenauer, Carson, Cartwright, Chu, Cicilline, Cardenas, Cleaver, Conyers, Cummings, Clyburn, Davis, Doggett, Ellison, Fattah, Frankel, Hastings, Holt, Israel, Jackson-Lee, Bill Johnson, Kilmer, Kirkpatrick, Kuster, Rick Larsen, Barbara Lee, Lynch, McCarthy, McDermott, McGovern, Meeks, Michaud, Moore, Payne, Perlmutter, Pingree, Shea-Porter, Rangel, Roe, Ruiz, Ruppersberger,  Sablan, Schakowsky, Scott, Sinema, Slaughter, Takano, Van Hollen,  Vela, Walz

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen 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 FY2014.  
Research has shown that Gulf War illness is associated with service in the 1991 war; that it affects at least 175,000 veterans; and that it is a physical condition caused by toxic exposures, rather than stress or other psychiatric factors.  Symptoms typically include debilitating fatigue, cognitive and other neurologic symptoms, gastrointestinal problems, skin problems, chronic widespread pain, and persistent headaches.   Gulf War veterans also have elevated rates of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and there is concern that Gulf War Illness could develop into life-threatening neurological disorders as this population ages.  There are currently no effective treatments.
A landmark report published in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, called for a substantial commitment to find “treatments, cures, and, it is hoped preventions”, stating that, “through a concerted national effort and rigorous scientific input, answers can likely be found.”
This program is vital to improve the health of Gulf War veterans and to protect the health of current and future American forces at risk of similar exposures.
As the Subcommittee begins work on the FY 2015 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.
GWI CDMRP-funded studies have found effectiveness of Coenzyme Q10 and acupuncture in relieving some GWI symptoms, evidence of a chronic GWI inflammatory state, confirmation of neurological damage and brain neurochemistry changes following low-level nerve agent exposure, a potential explanation of GWI immunological dysfunction, immune dysfunction in GWI after exercise challenge, differences in GWI in male and female veterans, evidence suggesting small fiber peripheral neuropathy, lipid dysfunction following GWI exposures, and other findings important in aiding veterans with GWI.
In 2014, two “consortia” – multidisciplinary teams from several institutions – began work on projects to identify treatments to address the fundamental mechanism underlying the disease, starting with animal studies to determine the effects of Gulf War exposures and to identify targets for treatment, to be followed by studies of treatments to address those targets in animals, and ultimately studies in humans of treatments that prove effective in animals.
The Independent Budget Veterans Service Organizations (IBVSOs, composed of AMVETS, DAV, PVA, VFW, and 53 other organizations that serve veterans), report that the GWI CDMRP “has made great strides in the short time it has been operating.”

We are requesting continued funding of the program to pursue this vital work toward improving the health and lives of our Gulf War veterans. 
This effective program warrants solid continued support, even in a time of fiscal challenge.  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 a new and understudied field like toxic illness.  

We respectfully request that you provide the necessary resources to accomplish this vital program. 

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