The Department of Defense today released the results of medical evaluations onmore than 18,000 Gulf War veterans evaluated and cared for under Defense'sComprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program (CCEP).
"The Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program, an unprecedented clinicalstudy of illnesses following a war, has greatly expanded our clinical knowledgeof the illnesses faced by many of our Gulf War veterans," said AssistantSecretary of Defense (Health Affairs) Stephen C. Joseph, M.D.
"One key findingis that, to date, we have found no clinical evidence for a previously unknown,serious illness or "syndrome" among the over 18,000 Persian Gulf veteransparticipating in the CCEP.
However, an unknown illness or a "syndrome" whichwas mild or only affected a small proportion of veterans at risk might not bedetectable in a case series, no matter how large.
DoD's findings areconsistent with a report released in January by the National Academy ofScience's Institute of Medicine."
"Because the CCEP was not designed as a research study, we well recognize thelimitations of a clinical study of 18,000 self-selected Gulf War veterans,"said Joseph.
"Building upon the knowledge gained from the CCEP study, theDepartment is conducting cluster analysis, epidemiological studies and otherresearch projects in an effort to further our understanding of the exposures,symptoms and illnesses experienced by Gulf War veterans.
As one example, wewill do additional study of reproductive risks from environmental exposures andexamine why CCEP patients report more reproductive problems post-war thanpre-war.
All research to date has found no evidence of increased reproductiveproblems for Gulf War veteran families."
"Our CCEP Gulf War veterans have a wide variety of symptoms and diagnosesspanning multiple organ systems, not unlike other clinical populations in theU.S.," said Joseph.
"However, we have found somewhat higher than expectedrates of musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases, psychologicalconditions, and a group of common medical conditions (e.g., sleep disturbances,malaise and fatigue, headaches) categorized as `Signs, Symptoms and Ill-DefinedConditions among CCEP participants."
"Many of our Gulf War veterans have real symptoms and illnesses with realconsequences requiring care, care being provided by the Departments of Defenseand Veterans Affairs," said Joseph.
"In support of President Clinton'scommitment to our Gulf War veterans, the Department will continue to providecomprehensive quality health care to eligible Gulf War veterans and theirfamily members and will continue its efforts to understand any healthconsequences of service in the Gulf War."