Gulf War Syndrome Is Brain Damage Caused By Nerve Gas, Not Psychological Issues, UT Southwestern Study Proves

Gulf-War-syndrome.jpg
There's no denying it now: Gulf War Syndrome, characterized by memory loss, lack of concentration, neuropathic pain and depression, is a physiological illness, not a psychological one.

A UT Southwestern study, published in the journal Radiology, used a specialized MRI that specifically measures blood flow in the brain and detected marked abnormalities in the brains of those with Gulf War Syndrome. Not only have those abnormalities persisted for 20 years, but in some cases they've worsened.

The findings mark a significant advancement in our understanding of the syndrome, which was for years written off by the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs as a form of combat stress rather than an objectively diagnosable injury. Dr. Robert Haley, chief epidemiologist at UT Southwestern, and a cadre of clinicians and researchers, have struggled with the government for some 18 years for research funding and to have the syndrome recognized as a legitimate war injury caused by chronic exposure to minimal amounts of sarin gas.

"This was really one of the first techniques to show an objective picture of whether there's really brain damage or not," Haley tells Unfair Park.

In this study, Haley used a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which mimics nerve gas and acts to slow the heart rate and blood flow to the brain, making you groggy. For those with receptors damaged by nerve gas, they don't become groggy at all. In fact, sometimes it has the opposite effect. By administering the neurotransmitter and projecting radio waves into the carotid artery, Haley used a kind of MRI to measure blood flow in response. Veterans afflicted with Gulf War Syndrome didn't respond normally by showing decreases in blood flow to the brain you'd expect.

It's no surprise, then, that many of them report sleep difficulties as well. Approximately 20 percent of the population has a weak form of a gene that protects nerve receptors from sarin gas, Haley says. As a result of this study, it's likely no coincidence that at least 25 percent of veterans who were deployed in Iraq are thought to have the syndrome, according to a VA report.

Because of Haley's work, we now know brain damage is involved. But which specific brain cells, and what's wrong with them? Until we understand the underlying pathology, Haley says, we can't treat them. "We're shooting in the dark," he said, referring to potential treatments. "So far, nobody's guessed right.

"But the research is really going to come to a head in the next six to 12 months."

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52 comments
TywinLannister
TywinLannister

I'd like to also point out that while watching that ammunition dump being destroyed, we spent nearly 3 months shrouded in burning crude oil.  That can't be good for the complexion.  Also, MREs.

TywinLannister
TywinLannister

Cowards always think that will survive if they keep themselves from strife.

RANDY
RANDY

 I am also a Gulf War Vet, like many others i show many of the same symptoms. The problem i have with this issue is that it seems as though everyone is looking for that one smoking gun to say its the main source for everything. the problem is that we were exposed to several toxic sources. Even the lime green paint we used on the inside of the combat vehicles is so toxic that the last time i seen it used the people applying it were in full resporator suits. the same paint i remember using a paintbrush without so much as a mask. There were no warnings and we weren't told it was dangerous. I look at the DU issue the same way, Safe enough when solid, but only after its fired does it become the health threat that it is. How clean were the factories producing all those vaccines? and how much difference from one batch to the other? I have varied experiences with the VA  and my first rep basically turned me away or i should say took his sweet time filing my claim. Where when i moved back to my home state my rep personally hand carried my paperwork to each office. I was extremely lucky that he cared that much. and now that its service connected my health care is better then what i have ever recieved in a civilian hospital. My only advice is to claim for each symptom seperately instead of trying to classify it as GWI. I pray all my brothers and sisters in arms recieve the help they deserve. Even if there is not one certain cause the fact we are sick and suffering is undeniable. If one county office isn't helping try another one. Do i feel like my government is covering anything up? well not directly but if they started telling me the whole truth now i would start to get suspicious. Because toxic chemicals are invading are everyday life I believe we will begin to see civilians with similar health problems. unless attitudes change what we expirienced in a short period of time during the war will become a national health problem.

John Topping
John Topping

John Topping USMC 87-93 Gulf War Combat Vet and suffer from the Gulf War Illness, I have once again been denied service connection by the VA. The VA has had every excuse in the the world to many to list here why. Our governement is indulging in criminal activites within the VA Health system to destroy our proof through medical finding's. I will continue to fight this war against the government and its bed partner the VA Health system.

Wesley C
Wesley C

I would tend to agree with alot of his research. There is one factor the public like to ommit though. That is: Vets got sick with Gulf War Illness before deployment. Its sorta like being a detective where a crime has been commited. You got vets that never deployed they got to sick right after shots. You have vets that deployed that are not counted as deployed that got sick as well. Some vets got sick right away. Other vets did not develop symptoms till years down the road. The first thing that happeened was divide and conqeuor pay some benefits fund some research but avoid admitting blame. Blame it on someone else. I am sick Navy veteran who served in Desert Storm. I now have blood flow issues with my brain. The VA still says I cannot be sick with Gulf War Illness. However I can prove to any jury trial, which I am dendied, I have injuries and exposures and gentic susptiblity to chemical spill, chemical weapons, and imagine this also gentic suseptiblity to vaccines. Yet the VA maintains I cannot have  it go away and die. You will not get a jury trial for fairness why should we be fair or impartial or care about the truth. We have the laws on our side their is nothing you can do is the attitude I recieve up till recently.

Chris Peterson
Chris Peterson

When our Gvt does (or pays for) the research, they control the patents that come from said research, and in return bury anything that might lead to an answer because the truth would lock a lot of their asses up! 

Carlos
Carlos

The mian ingrediant is also found in Diet Soda! It's what happens when Aspartame get's digested via the liver...

Bellavance
Bellavance

Gee, many commonly used pesticides, the cholinesterase inhibitors, are basically just weak forms of nerve gas.... So, that does mean we could have home-grown gulf war syndrome right here at home--maybe from too many lawn chemicals?LEE

brainfan
brainfan

We do. It's called multiple chemical sensitivity, and they're trying to deny the existence of that as well.

stonedwolf
stonedwolf

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

The guys are killers for hire. They have obtained the fate they deserve.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Those who "live by the sword" regardless of the agenda of political leaders, are preserving your right to 'be a prick by the keyboard'.  A little gratitude should be in order I would think.

brainfan
brainfan

Nonsense. Our military is used for purposes that have nothing to do with securing American freedom. 

Csl84030
Csl84030

Maybe you will obtain the fate you deserve. Self Righteous A-holes like u who live (hide)behind the pen will maybe get one through your skull.

originalone
originalone

 Enlighten me, the Gulf War was 20 years ago, yet this story reads that 25 % of veterans deployed in Iraq are thought to have the syndrome according to the VA. I wasn't aware that U.S. Forces were in Iraq during the Gulf War? So which is it? A case where the author gets it wrong, this is a branch of the Onion, just more disinformation?

Robtatkinson
Robtatkinson

Folks;

For some of you it's time to stop drinking the kool-aid.  I was assinged to front line units in Iraq and Kuwait during 1990 and 1991, and can assure you all that my fibromyalgia, and various other cluster symptoms are very real diabling.  As part of the initial forces entering Iraq and Kuwait, along with 100,000-plus other service members, all depicted ad nauseum on in the media outlets,  your comment regarding US forces presence in Iraq (and later Kuwait) is on it's face either wholly uninformed, a deliberate attempt to undermine an agreed upon foreign policy aimed at the removal of a brutal dictator, avowed supporter of state-sponsored terrorism and mass murderer of his own people.  I cannot comprehend the blindess of such a comment.  Now, as a fully diagnosed sufferer of GWI, 100% disabled service member, perhaps the brain damage I suffered due to exposure to sarin and cyclosarin, PB prophalaxis, and the other damaging environmental elements, such as smoke from oil well fires, causes me to remember the coalition involvement totally, but there were certainly a lot of US boots on the ground, in the air and on the seas.  To denegrate our service and sacrefices during the Gulf War is an insult of highest order. 

I would also mention that much discussions seems to focus the "ill-defined" symtomology" of GWI.  I was honored to be involved in the initial GWI investigatory studies conducted by Dr's Robert Haley and John Hart at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas as well as Georgetown University and, yes, even the much-maligned Veterans Affairs Department.  Because of the undying fervour of the many doctors, nurses and technicians, I have been able to learn of my illness, treat what can be treated and workaround those that I cannot...to include the development of a large basil glinoma cancer, inoperable, but kept in check by means od an exhaustive regimine of radiation and chemo therapy for the next year.   That condition hasn't resulted from a fall into the cancer pool, but rather exposure, along with many other US and coalition servicce members to Saddam Hussain's insidious WMD, sarin and cyclosarin. 

Honestly, I have no complaint to voice here nor axe to grind.  I knew there was a risk involved in my Gulf War service and willing accepted it.  I was fortunate and suffered some injuries, but many, many others lost so much more. And these days, I spend such time that remains me, to advocate for the many veterans who may not recognize that they may be suffering GWI in the community, Congress and state legislaturesrepaired. Yes, 18 years of waiting through beaucratice malise and sis-intrest is a further insult to our service and is finally being repaired. Too late for many. 

Thank-you all for your service and sacrefices by you and your families. 

Sincerely,Robert C. AtkinsonCOL, (retired) USA, Corps of Engineers

Colleenclements
Colleenclements

I have had contact with Dr. Haley on and off for years. I did participate in questions and blood tests. I need further studies to see how the Lack of Blood Flow to my Brain is doing!! I Trust Dr. Haley, and need to get more testing done. I dont know how to get it done through him though. Any help would be appreciated. I know i have gotten worse. I Need to know what I can Fix on my own, versus what I am not in control of. Can anyone get me going in the right direction for answers?

Csl84030
Csl84030

  My unit helped with the demolition of Al-Khamisiyah ammo dump in Iraq during Desert Storm. My unit was A co. 37th Engineer Battalion. The only reason it was revealed that chemical weapons were in those 13 bunkers is that one of the guys in my unit brought one of those one VCR recorders and video taped what was in those bunkers. Artillery shells have special markings on the shell that identify the shells as chemical weapons. Solider of Fortune Magazine wrote several articles on our story in their March and April of 1997 issues. The majority of the munitions in those bunker were made right here in the good old USA.      This link describes some of what happened.   http://www.armytimes.com/news/...              They claim the records were destroyed due to lack of space to bring them home. Planes and ships were going back and forth every day.  I have letters from the Dept of Defense telling me they acknowledge our presence in the area of the chemical fall out from the destruction of the ammo dump.

Colleen
Colleen

And my Unit got the Letter Stating We were in the area and were effected by the ammo dump explosion. 233rd Trans. Co. 70th Ordinance. Ft.Bliss, TX. Supported the 3rd Calvary. Recieved a Shot and had NO Choice. Armed Guard at both ends of tent, while in the Gulf. Took pills too.. Alarms went off All the Time.. For the people who werent there, but were given all the shots but did not go over are sick also. That was Proven.. Pam Asa- Tulane Med. Univ.

Lion4130
Lion4130

Collene speakes the truth. I was there with her and know our unit was at "the tip of the spear". Take care and I've seen Brett and he's good.  God bless all who gave esp my brothers and sisters in the 233RD. 60% disabled by the VA and had to fight for every bit of it  Take care Colleen and be well. Forster

Spec Beck
Spec Beck

i watched the explosion and felt the concussion effect from a distance that is now openly available online to not be far enough. the sarin gas was still effective and i came down with migraines immediately that night. my tiny TAC unit hhc, 1st Brigade, 1st Cav Div, FT hood tx was less than a dozen men, so our locations and reports are lost since Captain carter was emotionally incapable of being responsible and mature. i witnessed a rocket from unknown sources break into the atmosphere above our temporary location during the first day of the ground war. the conclusion was only told that it was not friendly. where it landed, no one knows. but we were also within smelling range of a pile of dead goats, approximately 20 or more for many hours. the pile was further away from the black tented beduins than we were. maybe we should have got a clue like they beduins, but we dealt with the smell. as we approached iraq my photographs show how the entire area was cloudier than before the ground war started. our alarms went off 6 times. the marines were using their bradleys chain cannon at the iraqi airport to irresponsibly shoot up the bunkers and as debris and shrapnel rained down on my kevlar helmet i wondered WTF is blowing up in those bunkers? it took several minutes to get them to stop shooting. but by then the damage had been done. our gas alarms went off after the cease fire but every winged officer chose to ignore it or not test for themselves the atmosphere. i was alone in my truck and i didnt actually get the warning til later then the rest of the men in my little unit already masked up. to anyone claiming they know anything who wasnt there. shut the fuck up already

Marcusch
Marcusch

Would you like to participate in a clinical study of a safe and effective treatment for symptoms related to combat PTSD and Gulf War Illness? Targeted Medical Pharma (www.tmedpharma.com) is enrolling 250 veterans for a clinical trial to further establish the effectiveness of a safe medication regimen to treat the symptoms associated with military related post-traumatic stress disorder and Gulf War Illness (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v....  Targeted Medical Pharma was awarded a research grant for this study from the IRS’ Therapeutic Discovery program for new innovative and safe therapies. This trial has received IRB approval and is primarily web-based. There are no office visits, medication is delivered to your home and all questionnaires are filled out and submitted electronically to a team of three highly qualified physicians (Dr. William Shell, Dr. David Silver, and Dr. Anthony Charuvastra).   Participants in the trial will receive Sentra AM® and Sentra PM®. These products have been administered by physicians since 2003 and are amino acid-based medications that have limited to no undesirable side effects or contraindications. They are covered by the DOD’s TRICARE formulary as well as by many PPO plans and Workers Compensation carriers. There is no cost to participate in this study. The study lasts for 30 days and you are given the option to continue the medication under the supervision of your own doctor once completing the study.  Specifically, these medications are formulated to manage autonomic nervous system function associated with PTSD or toxic exposure.  For example: sleep disorders, mood disorders and cognitive dysfunction. Follow this link to register and apply: http://tmedpharma.com/app/surv...  Or, contact subjectinquiry@ptlcentral.com with questions.http://www.ptlcentral.com/pub/...

Chris Gideon
Chris Gideon

 Fuck  this  Depleted  Uranium ( DU ) that's Killing us Gulf War Vets (91')  &  All  Other US /British Soldiiers  / Iraqi Soldiers &  Way Worse Contaminating / Killing Innocent Children,Civilians World-Wide with No Accountability  And No End In Sight .I'm proud  Disabled Veteran, but this is  Cruel  & Unusual   ( DU ) Punishment for ALL.  The Pentagon knows the truth about the effects of DU better than anyone,but seems to  be Very Happy ( Donald Dicknose Rumsfeld) Just Lie  to our Faces. Sorry for the Rant but I feel like the planet is being BushWhacked! Please read what the experts are saying. below , Thanks For Your Time & Interest !                                                                          Sincerely Disabled Veteran- CHRIS GIDEON  A-Co.8th Engineers, 1st Calvary Division- Demolition Specialist

Madelinekn
Madelinekn

Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Iranians during the Iran/Iraq war.  He used a deadly combination of Sarin nerve gas and Mustard gas.  We covered it up, and blamed it on the Iranians.  It's our own fault our troops were exposed to it because we allowed Hussein to use it against the Iranians (it was horrible...entire fields of Iranian soldiers seizing, suffocating on their own blood).  The people who send others to war are evil and don't care for our soldiers or anyone's lives.  They just care about their agenda.  

Rose Welsh
Rose Welsh

I know what it's like to have an illness yet people, including doctors think I'm nuts.  The best thing right now that comes from this study is that the soldiers have proof, for themselves, friends and family, that it wasn't and isn't all in their heads.  That's a great gift.

dangerous daffny
dangerous daffny

I also know what it's like to be told you're perfectly healthy when at 21 my 51 mother had more energy and vitality than I did.  It is a gift, and a relief to no longer have to defend my poor health to people who think I'm just making it up.

warden62
warden62

Science cannot "prove" anything. Science can support likelihood vs. unlikelihood, or can provide evidence supporting particular notions, but science is NOT about proof. You should change your headline.

Brantley Hargrove
Brantley Hargrove

These guys' brains don't respond right when exposed to a neurotransmitter that mimics sarin gas. In short: Nah.

george gobel
george gobel

As a hypertechnical matter of usage, you are correct.  Taking your argument a step further, we must agree that no method, of any kind, can actually "prove" anything at all, whatsoever.  Nothing can ever be proven for absolute certain.  You may find out tomorrow that you were adopted, that your true parents don't live in Cleveland after all, and that you have a twin.  Science is about the demonstrated repeatability of results—but just because something happens 1,000 times in a row, you have not "proven" it will happen that way the 1,001st time.

That said, we humans have not tossed the concept of "proof" into the dustbin.  It remains a fairly decent bet that if something happens a certain way 1,000 times, it will likely happen that way again.  We all trust that airplanes made of metal have been "proven" to be able to fly, and that it hasn't just been a decades long series of flukes.  Those of us who have never been to space are generally accepting of the fact the the world has been "proven" to be a sphere.  You should probably go ahead and visit your family at Thanksgiving, even though no one has "proven" you're actually related to them. 

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Dr. Robert Haley should get a medal

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

For what ?Saying Ta Da I found it ?How stupid do people have to be ?

I bet  documents recording the dates and time these people were exposed to these hazards are in a file in Washington.

Our folks were ready for what ever was out of the norm. Or so we were told ?Its not like they can say this was unexpected .

They have chosen not to share that vital information.Saved some time and money if they would have . Maybe even some lives.

brainfan
brainfan

He should be commended for proving a causal link. Until that link is discovered, the government and the industries involved will deny any connection between the agent and the illness. That's why it took so long before tobacco could be 'officially' declared a cause of cancer.

SPEC BECK
SPEC BECK

what ARE YOU supposed to be? an advocate for online justice and criticism? your responses show typical "me, me me" needs.what forum did you hit next? the anti-anti-gay marriage or the ford versus chevy redneck debate?  please go fuck yourself and dont get off. in the real world, you sit silently, stirring with anal itch and anger that your older brother stuck his up yours first and without lube. there is help for your mental condition, state funded psychological care or one bullet. ill even buy you the gun. 

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

Gee,sarin gas is a weapon of mass destruction (and Saddam did gas the Kurds)  but Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction during Gulf War II.  Did the Iraqis use it all before 9-11??

brainfan
brainfan

Where did you get the idea that sarin gas is a weapon of mass destruction? It isn't the agent that makes it a WMD, but the  method of dispersion, and Iraq never had a method of dispersion to make any of the agents they bought from us weapons of mass destruction. Agents like sarin gas also have expiration dates, beyond which they are useless.

Chris Peterson
Chris Peterson

SCUDD and FROG missiles were used to carry the agents! as outlined in military records from Jan 19 1991 where it states a SCUDD was exploaded near KKMC (If you were there you know about how far that is from the Iraqi border) shortly after the attack several people went down with nerve agent symptoms and one person reported a almond taste in his mouth. many people from his unit went home sick and broke out with skin lessions all over their bodies.

jfpo
jfpo

Yes, let's turn this into a discussion over the validity of Gulf War II and 9/11. That's what the vets need. Who cares that the referenced study is dealing with the first Gulf War?

dangerous daffny
dangerous daffny

I was in the first Gulf War, who cares?  I do.  I recieved a letter, dated December 5, 2000, from the Office of the Secretary of Defense telling me that my unit "may, indeed, (love those disclaimers) have been exposed to very low levels of chemical agent for a brief period of time (less than 3 days) after the demolition at Khamisiyah.  It is important for you to know, based on current medical evidence and ongoing research, there is no indication that any long-term health effects would be expected from a brief, low-level exposure to chemical agents that may have occurred near Khamisiyah.  I've felt the effects for 21 years, and they get worse with each passing year.  Gulf war veterans who were in the wind path of the agents sarin and, even more toxic, cyclosarin are twice as likely to die of brain cancer as other Gulf War Veterans.  We suffer from a variety of neurological, and neuropsychological, chronic fatigue, memory loss, pain, etc..  The studies dealing with the first Gulf War will benefit the soldiers of the second Gulf War.  Mabye you won't have to wait 2 decades for answers.

dangerous daffny
dangerous daffny

My sincerest apologies.  I just typed about 3 paragraphs describing the recent research I've been doing on chemical and biological warfare, n my @##$$ computer went stupid on me and i lost it all as soon as i was about to post so i'll make it easer with links.  I ended up in the hospital a month after coming home, CDC was called in the end they diagnosed me with ecoli, but had to use such powerful antibiotics that they had to test my blood before and after they gave it to me every 4 hours for 5 days.  this strain i just found out about is antibiotic resistant.  you have to scroll past all the anthrax to get to 0157:H7 strain of e-coli.http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontli...  http://www.desert-storm.com/GW...   http://www.time.com/time/healt...

jfpo
jfpo

My "who cares" comment was sarcastically directed at Heywood, who I thought was missing the original point. I'm truly sorry for the suffering you and other GW 1 veterans are going through.

RTGolden
RTGolden

The two aren't unrelated.  Keep in mind, some of us served during both of them.  Always see a lot of people concerned with what the 'veterans need', what the '9/11 responders need' but rarely see anyone asking the vets or responders what they think they need.  I know after Desert Shield/Storm, I didn't need several years worth of various researchers poking and prodding, injecting and removing fluids, trying to 'find the source'.  They already found the source, of infinite government funding.

I find it hard to believe this Dr. fought for 18 years to get the funding.  DoD was throwing money at this for years, anything to keep it in research stages so they wouldn't have to pay any in benefits as a result of it.

As to  your point above, maybe, if this country wasn't so liberally hand-tied, we could have initiated Iraqi Freedom more expeditiously and eliminated the opportunity for the Baathists to remove their biological agents.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

Wait a second.  So, in your opinion, the doctors trying to find the answer to this question were just trying to maintain their "infinite government funding" rather than actually find an answer?  And yet, the DoD was also trying to make the problem stay in "research stages so they wouldn't have to pay any in benefits"?

Those two things are mutually exclusive.  Either A: the government wanted to cover it up, in which case the doctor was acting in an exemplary manner, or B: the doctor was trying to illegitimately obtain research funding and the DoD was happy to provide it in order to find an answer.

Nikesb95
Nikesb95

Dr. Haley knew the answer long ago I work for UTSW and all they wanted was the money the goverment gave them and now the goverment wants it back because he was not able to prove to them he was still doing the research and it really took so long for this research....

primi timpano
primi timpano

from the article: "a cadre of clinicians and researchers, have struggled with the government for some 18 years for research funding"

This is an obscenity to our servicemen.

Chris Peterson
Chris Peterson

struggled with over 300 million and have not even a guess!

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Finally a confirmed cause, now time to help treat our vets who were affected by this...

geiger
geiger

Who used nerve gas?  Depleted uranium is the unknown factor that no ones wants to research.

Chris Peterson
Chris Peterson

Lol get with the times those studies were done awhile back DU changes your chromosomes by seperating and reattaching them to different ones. Of course the Gvt owns the patent on the test because they paid for the research. or did "we the peeps"?

S_u_e_b
S_u_e_b

the iraqi had nerve gas and we blew it up....

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Not really , but we can look  forward to more years of bickering over the actual findings.

Add to that the bickering over the real agenda of who found the findings and what in their past  makes them want to make someone other folks hold dear look bad.

That being the case . Look at the time line of the Agent Orange and double it there is the answer to when folks will start getting treated .

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