In an continuing effort to help address important questions regarding Gulf War health issues, the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs have authored an editorial accompanying a review article on Gulf War veteran's illnesses by Dr. Jeffery Sartin, which appears in this month's peer-reviewed medical journal, "Mayo Clinic Proceedings."
The editorial affirms that much has been and is being learned about the health status of Gulf War Veterans. It notes that the U.S. government for fiscal 1994-1999 has committed more than $160 million to support more than 150 clinical, basic science, and other research projects to further understanding of the causes related to illnesses among Gulf War veterans, popularly known as "Gulf War Syndrome."
The article states that research investigations have already answered some critical questions. Examinations of more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans have identified a broad diversity of common health problems. Moreover, mortality studies of Gulf War veterans have not shown a higher rate of deaths due to disease; and studies of hospitalization records have not found an overall increase in birth defects among their children since the war.
The editorial observes that in some studies, however, varied populations of Gulf War veterans have reported higher rates of numerous symptoms and illnesses. But analysis of hospital records reveals no general increase in hospitalization among Gulf War veterans during the first few years after the war.
On the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War deployment, it is becoming clear that no single solution for the health questions that have arisen since this war will be found. As the large pieces of the medical puzzle are put together, lessons can be drawn to provide better health care for Gulf War veterans, and to protect military troops in future deployments.
Homepage for the journal is at http://www.mayo.edu/proceedings/ . Full text of the copyrighted article can be viewed at http://www.mayo.edu/proceedings/2000/aug/7508e1.pdf .