SOURCE: Roskamp Institute "Brain Waves", April 25, 2016
Three Year Research Grant Awarded
Congratulations to Laila Abdullah, Ph.D., Scientist I at The Roskamp Institute, [Sarasota, Florida] who has received notification of a research grant award for her latest Department of Defense submission as part of its Gulf War Illness Research Program. The project, “Identification of Lipid Biomarkers of Inflammation and Metabolic Disturbances in Gulf War Illness (GWI)”, received an Excellent rating. Overview of GWI: Research studies conducted over the last decade provide compelling evidence that Gulf War Illness (GWI) may have been caused by exposure to chemicals, such as an anti-nerve agent pyridostigmine bromide (PB) and different types of pesticides (GW agents). These studies also show that brain structures that are involved in processing and storing memory, as well as brain pathways involved in controlling pain and fatigue, are altered in GW veterans with this condition. Even now, nearly 25 years later, veterans with GWI continue to experience these complex symptoms and this illness remains difficult to diagnose since the current GWI diagnostic process is limited to using information on self-reporting of symptoms. As such, there remains a need for developing minimally invasive blood-based disease markers (biomarker) of GWI. The goal of this current study is to identify novel biomarkers of GWI which can assist physicians in providing an objective diagnosis of GWI so appropriate clinical evaluations and treatments can be provided to GW veterans with this condition. Another key goal of this project is to identify biomarkers of GW chemical exposure and symptom profiles so care and treatment can be tailored individually for each veteran with GWI.
Scientists working in the field of GWI research continue to provide strong evidence that this condition is connected with irregular responses by blood cells which generally combat irritations or other injuries to the body (inflammation). This research grant project will use mass spectrometry technology to study the potential problem with breaking down of fats in the brain (lipids) that are specific to inflammation and metabolic disturbances associated with GWI in order to determine if they can be used as biomarkers of GWI. The existing expertise and collaborations between the Roskamp Institute and the Boston GWI consortium will expedite successful translation of this endeavor so that appropriate biomarker tools are made available to the clinicians in order to assist them with diagnosing GWI and ensuring that appropriate medical plans are developed for the care and treatment of veterans with GWI.