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VA Researchers Attempting to Understand Gulf War Illness

No Proven Treatments Yet, but Studies Are Underway

A post on VAntage Point, the Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, outlines studies being done on Gulf War illness (GWI). The ultimate goal is to better understand the illness and its cluster of symptoms—including pain, insomnia, headaches, memory impairment, joint pain, and respiratory problems—for which there are currently no proven treatments. Due in large part to exposure to toxic elements such as chemicals and smoke, veterans’ DNA may be damaged along with proteins and cells. Potential targets for treatments include coenzyme Q10. One study mentioned in the blog post is looking at ubiquinol, a form of CoQ10 which has been shown to improve quality of life in part by increasing physical function. To prevent the development of chronic physical health conditions, exercise is recommended. However, many veterans’ symptoms worsen with physical activity--post exertion malaise. A study, the goal of which is to come up with a specific exercise plan for GWI sufferers, is assessing the link between post exertion malaise and aerobic activity.

As many as a third of the almost 700,000 Persian Gulf veterans are affected by GWI. The ongoing studies include biomedical, rehabilitation, epidemiological, and observational research.

 

Read the article.

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