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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Press Coverage of RAC 2014 Report Release




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SOURCE:  AFP
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/gulf-war-syndrome-better-understood-report-142953255.html#GsgHb5G


ARCHIVED TEXT:

'Gulf War syndrome' better understood: report

Better help, including treatment, could finally be in sight for as many as 250,000 US veterans thought to be suffering a range of debilitating symptoms associated with "Gulf War syndrome."
More progress has been made toward understanding the physiological mechanisms that underline the illness and identifying possible treatments, according to a report released Monday by a congressionally-mandated panel of experts and veterans.
But on a sour note, its authors expressed deep concerns about a lack of research on other health problems and mortality among Gulf War veterans.
Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War have complained for two decades that they are not receiving adequate care for symptoms caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides, and a drug administered to protect soldiers against nerve gas.
But treatment research has increased significantly since 2008, and "early results provide encouraging signs that the treatment goals identified in the 2010 Institute of Medicine report are achievable," the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses said.
In 2008, a landmark RAC report established that Gulf War illness was a real condition.
"Studies published since 2008 continue to support the conclusion that Gulf War illness is causally related to chemical exposures in the combat theater," said RAC scientific director Roberta White, chair of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health.
Symptoms can vary from person to person, but typically include some combination of widespread pain, headache, persistent problems with memory and thinking, fatigue, breathing problems, stomach and intestinal symptoms, and skin abnormalities.
Central nervous system dysfunction is a "critical element in the disorder," White said, while studies also continue to show that Gulf War illness is not associated with psychological stressors during the war.
Fresh evidence has also emerged suggesting that certain exposures may be linked to brain cancer in Gulf War veterans.
Studies show that those veterans most exposed to released nerve gas during the destruction of the Khamisiyah arms depot in Iraq have significantly elevated rates of death due to brain cancer.
Veterans exposed to the highest level of contaminants from oil well fires also have increased rates of brain cancer deaths, the report says.
The panel also cited a number of "promising" treatment studies, including those testing certain dietary supplements, intranasal insulin and continuous positive airway pressure to ease fatigue and pain and improve cognitive function.
Yet it said that "very little research" has been conducted to determine rates at which veterans have been affected by neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, cancers and reproductive problems.

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SOURCE: Science Daily
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428121116.htm

ARCHIVED TEXT:

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Gulf War illness: New report lauds treatment research, confirms toxic causes

Date:
April 28, 2014
Source:
Boston University
Summary:
Progress has been made toward understanding the physiological mechanisms that underlie Gulf War illness and identifying possible treatments, says a new report on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, a condition that affects as many as 250,000 veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War. Gulf War illness refers to the chronic symptoms that affect veterans of that conflict at markedly elevated rates, compared to other veterans' groups and to the U.S. population as a whole. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but typically include some combination of widespread pain, headache, persistent problems with memory and thinking, fatigue, breathing problems, stomach and intestinal symptoms, and skin abnormalities.

Exposure to the nerve gas agents sarin and cyclosarin has been linked in several studies to changes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that are associated with cognitive impairments in Gulf War veterans.
Credit: © mariocigic / Fotolia
Progress has been made toward understanding the physiological mechanisms that underlie Gulf War illness and identifying possible treatments, according to a report released Monday by a Congressionally mandated panel of scientific experts and veterans.
Treatment research has increased significantly since 2008, and "early results provide encouraging signs that the treatment goals identified in the 2010 Institute of Medicine report are achievable," the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC) said in a report presented Monday to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki by the Committee's scientific director, Roberta White, chair of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health.
The Institute, part of the National Academies of Sciences, had forecast that "treatments, cures, and hopefully preventions" could likely be found with the right research.
The RAC report updates scientific research published since the Committee's landmark report in 2008, which established that Gulf War illness was a real condition, affecting as many as 250,000 veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War.
"The conclusions of the 2008 RAC report had a substantial impact on scientific and clinical thinking about Gulf War illness, as well as the public acceptance of this disorder," said White. The earlier report documented a number of studies that found evidence linking the illness to exposure to pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide (found in anti-nerve gas pills given to troops), as well as other toxic sources.
"Studies published since 2008 continue to support the conclusion that Gulf War illness is causally related to chemical exposures in the combat theater," White said of the new report. "And many studies of the brain and central nervous system, using imaging, EEG and other objective measures of brain structure and function, add to the existing evidence that central nervous system dysfunction is a critical element in the disorder. Evidence also continues to point to immunological effects of Gulf War illness."
Exposure to the nerve gas agents sarin and cyclosarin has been linked in several studies to changes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that are associated with cognitive impairments -- further supporting the nervous-system effects of those agents cited in the 2008 report.
"The Committee concludes that the evidence to date continues to point to alterations in central and autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrine, and immune system functions," the report says.
Studies also continue to show that Gulf War illness is not associated with psychological stressors during the war, the panel said. Rates of PTSD and other psychiatric illnesses in Gulf War veterans are far below the rate of these disorders in veterans of other recent wars, and far below the rate of Gulf War illness.
In addition, the Committee said, new evidence has emerged suggesting that certain exposures may be linked to brain cancer in Gulf War veterans. Studies show that veterans who were most exposed to the release of nerve gas during the destruction of the Khamisiyah arms depot in Iraq have significantly elevated rates of death due to brain cancer.
Veterans who were exposed to the highest level of contaminants from oil well fires also have increased rates of brain cancer deaths, the report says.
The Committee encouraged studies exposing animals to toxic agents involved in Gulf War illness "because they can help to determine treatment targets in subgroups of veterans with specific exposures, for which there are known mechanistic pathways that cause illness and symptoms."
In addition, "results from this work can be useful in protecting the health of future military personnel who will experience these exposures, as well as non-military populations with occupational or environmental exposures."
The panel cited a number of "promising" treatment studies, including those testing certain dietary supplements, intranasal insulin, and continuous positive airway pressure to ease fatigue and pain and improve cognitive function.
While the RAC panel applauded an increase in the number of treatment studies funded by the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, it expressed grave concerns about a lack of research on other health problems and mortality among Gulf War veterans.
"Very little research" has been conducted to determine rates at which veterans have been affected by neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, cancers, and reproductive problems, the panel said.
"No comprehensive information has been published on the mortality experience of U.S. Gulf War era veterans after the year 2000," according to the report.
Gulf War illness refers to the chronic symptoms that affect veterans of that conflict at markedly elevated rates, compared to other veterans' groups and to the U.S. population as a whole. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but typically include some combination of widespread pain, headache, persistent problems with memory and thinking, fatigue, breathing problems, stomach and intestinal symptoms, and skin abnormalities.
The report can be found online at: http://www.bu.edu/sph/files/2014/04/RAC2014.pdf

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Boston UniversityNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:
Boston University. "Gulf War illness: New report lauds treatment research, confirms toxic causes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428121116.htm>.

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Report Confirms Gulf War Illness Likely Caused By Toxins

April 29, 2014
      9
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
A new report from a Congressionally-mandated panel of scientific experts and veterans has found that Gulf War illness is most likely the result of exposure to toxins. The panel added research surrounding treatment of the condition has been advancing at an “encouraging” rate.
Gulf War illness was established as a legitimate condition in 2008 by the same Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC) that presented this latest report to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki on Monday. Affecting as many as 250,000 veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War, symptoms of the condition include widespread pain, headache, cognitive disorders, fatigue, breathing problems, digestive symptoms, and skin abnormalities.
“The conclusions of the 2008 RAC report had a substantial impact on scientific and clinical thinking about Gulf War illness, as well as the public acceptance of this disorder,” noted RAC director Roberta White, chair of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health.
“Studies published since 2008 continue to support the conclusion that Gulf War illness is causally related to chemical exposures in the combat theater,” said White turning to the new report. “And many studies of the brain and central nervous system, using imaging, EEG and other objective measures of brain structure and function, add to the existing evidence that central nervous system dysfunction is a critical element in the disorder. Evidence also continues to point to immunological effects of Gulf War illness.”
Some of the newer studies have concluded that the nerve gases sarin and cyclosarin have caused magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence in those with Gulf War illness that are associated with cognitive impairments.
“The Committee concludes that the evidence to date continues to point to alterations in central and autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrine, and immune system functions,” the report said.
The latest report also concluded that Gulf War illness does not appear to be related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It noted that rates of mental illness in Gulf War veterans are below the rates in veterans of other recent wars and far below the rate of Gulf War illness.
The report tied the release of nerve gas during the destruction of the Khamisiyah arms depot in Iraq and high levels of exposure to contaminants from oil well fires to elevated risk for brain cancer in Gulf War veterans.
With respect to treatment research, the report praised studies exposing animals to Gulf War toxins “because they can help to determine treatment targets in subgroups of veterans with specific exposures, for which there are known mechanistic pathways that cause illness and symptoms.”
“(R)esults from this work can be useful in protecting the health of future military personnel who will experience these exposures, as well as non-military populations with occupational or environmental exposures,” the report stated.
The RAC also said studies involving treatments such as certain dietary supplements, intranasal insulin, and continuous positive airway pressure appeared to be showing promise.
The report warned that “very little research” has been focused on the rate of neurological diseases in these veterans.
“No comprehensive information has been published on the mortality experience of U.S. Gulf War era veterans after the year 2000,” the report said.

Source: Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online



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