By Jeremy Olson
AUGUST 14, 2016
More than $500 million in research hasn’t found causes or cures for the illness, which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs classifies as “unexplained illness” or “chronic multisymptom illness.”Chad Donovan of Rochester is fighting for the Department of Veterans Affairs to acknowledge his pain and other symptoms as related to Gulf War Illness.
It’s been 25 years, and Chad Donovan still wonders which toxic hazard in the Gulf War might have caused the fatigue, stomach problems and rashes he has suffered ever since.
Maybe it was the nerve gas pills, which his unit took in Saudi Arabia while standing in formation so nobody refused.
Maybe one of the “false alarms” after a missile attack really did signal the presence of chemical weapons.
Maybe the mushroom-cloud detonation of unused Iraqi ordnance whooshed toxins into the air.
And then there were the sand fleas, pesticides, burning oil wells, dust storms and uranium-depleted bullets that made the Gulf War one of the most toxic conflicts in history.
Today, researchers at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center are leading a wave of studies to solve the mystery of Gulf War Illness, a cluster of unexplained symptoms reported by 25 to 65 percent of the 700,000 soldiers deployed to the Gulf in 1990 and 1991. They have identified genetic markers that could improve tests and treatment, one of the most significant advances in years, and started a clinical trial on a promising prescription drug.
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