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Kucinich, Michaud Win $10 Million for Gulf War Illness Research Funding

Funding Represents an Increase of 25%

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 16) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Congressman Michael Michaud (D-ME) today won $10 million for the Gulf War Veterans’ Illness Research Program (GWVIRP), which aims to identify treatments for veterans of the first Gulf War.  The funding was included in H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act.   Kucinich won the adoption of an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act in July to increase the amount of money for GWVIRP by over 25% over last year’s level to $10 million. 

“The Gulf War Veterans Illness Research Program is one of the best hopes in the world for finding a treatment for the 250,000 ailing veterans of the first Gulf War.  It is also critical for the health of current members of our Armed Forces.  We must fight for the veterans of yesterday’s wars as hard as we fight for veterans of today’s wars.”

“Nearly one-third of veterans from the first Gulf War suffer from persistent symptoms such as chronic headache, widespread pain, cognitive difficulties, unexplained fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory symptoms, and other abnormalities that are not explained by traditional medical or psychiatric diagnoses.  Research shows that as these brave soldiers age, they are at double the risk for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease as their non-deployed peers.  There may also be connections to Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.  Sadly, there are no known treatments for the lifelong pain these veterans endure.”

“This funding will allow the researchers at GWVIRP to continue the significant strides they have made in finding an effective treatment for Gulf War Veterans Illness.  This summer, GWVIRP -funded researchers completed the first successful pilot study of a medication to treat one of the major symptoms of Gulf War Veterans Illness.  In June, a report was released on the first successful medication program study in the history of Gulf War illness research.  The study showed that the low-cost supplement, Coenzyme Q10, produced significant improvement in one of the most serious symptoms of Gulf War illness, fatigue with exertion, as well as improvements in nearly every other symptom.  It is not a cure, and the study needs be replicated in a larger group, but the result is extremely encouraging. The next step is for clinical trials, which will only be funded by the GWVIRP.  This is the kind of research that is not profitable for the pharmaceutical industry but that is critical for a healthy military and for deserving veterans.”

 “According to the VA’s Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, the known causes of GWVI are from exposures incurred in Iraq, like certain pesticides, or are from exposures incurred before deployment, like pyridostigmine bromide, a drug taken as an antidote to the nerve gas, Sarin.  There is also some evidence for a link between GWVI and exposure to low-level exposure to nerve agents, close proximity to oil well fires, receipt of multiple vaccines, and combinations of Gulf War exposures.”



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