Gulf War illness breakthrough

Published: Jul. 24, 2018 at 4:35 PM EDT
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The debilitating symptoms of Gulf War illness are causing some military veterans total body pain. The symptoms include severe fatigue, stomach problems and body aches just to name a few.

One out of three soldiers who fought in Operation Desert Storm are affected. Now new research is aimed at bringing some relief.

Jimmy Arocho is a Gulf War veteran.

“I was seven months in the desert.”

Shortly after coming home, his health took a turn for the worse.

“Full body pain, muscle and joint pain.”

“In 1990 and 91, we sent 800,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to fight in the first Gulf War.”

Doctor Nancy Klimas says those soldiers were exposed to multiple chemical toxins including organo-phosphate in their uniforms.

“Out of 800,000 troops some 300,000 veterans are now ill 27 years later, so one in three came back ill and stayed that way.”

Doctor Klimas and her team at Nova Southeastern University and the Miami VA went to work to find a treatment for Gulf War illness and the debilitating symptoms. They put study participants on bikes and measured their body’s responses and found their systems were off balance.

She says the goal is a healthy homeostasis, bringing the immune, endocrine and autonomic nervous systems back in balance. The study has moved to phase one in humans. Jimmy hopes this research will finally lead to some relief for his fellow soldiers.

“I really want to see an effective treatment across all of what is causing the Gulf War illness.”

Despite his own pain, Jimmy travelled to Puerto Rico to help hurricane victims. Once a soldier, always a civil servant.

Doctor Klimas believes a treatment for Gulf War illness will be available in about five years, most likely in the form of an injection.

In addition to Nova, four other sites received federal funding for clinical trials on Gulf War illness.



REPORT: MB #4449

BACKGROUND: Certain illnesses are associated with Gulf War service in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations from August 2, 1990 to present. Medically unexplained illnesses are a significant concern for some veterans who served during the Gulf War. A prominent condition affecting Gulf War veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.


CAUSES: Nancy Klimas, MD, a professor at Nova in the Karin Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, Director of the Institute Neuro Immune Medicine, Assistant Dean for research at the Osteopathic Medical School and Director of the Gulf War Illness Program at the Minor VA Hospital explained how 800,000 U.S. troops that were sent to the Middle East to fight in the first Gulf War were exposed to toxicity in the environment. Dr. Klimas said, “They were wearing pesticide impregnated uniforms which turned out to be very toxic and there were very toxic organophosphates. Whenever the SCUD missiles went over and the chemical alarms went off they had to jump into a chemical protection suit which caused them to sauna in their organophosphate. They were using DEET at a hundred percent which you can’t buy even eight percent now.” They were exposed to many other toxins such as depleted uranium through the armaments, and an untested anthrax vaccine.

(Source: Nancy Klimas, MD)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Dr. Klimas and teams of researchers across the country believe they are close to having a treatment. Dr. Klimas said, “In this particular study we’re using a biologic intervention that is a monoclonal that blocks tumor necrosis factor.” It is still in phase 1 and has not gone through safety trials yet, but in the animal model “we bring the inflammation in the brain down using a biologic that blocks information and we bring it down by at least fifty percent. It was a short intervention, we gave them one dose of the biologic and we waited a week and gave them one dose of the blocking agent and it rebooted the system,” Klimas stated.

(Source: Nancy Klimas, MD)