New research from a Texas doctor has linked the onset of Gulf War illness in some veterans to exposure to the deadly nerve gas sarin.
“Our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities,” said Dr. Robert Haley, professor of internal medicine and director of the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “There are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment.”
Haley, a medical epidemiologist who studies disease outbreaks in groups of people, has been investigating Gulf War illness for 28 years and used a genetic study that found some people have a stronger natural ability to fight the deadly chemical.
Troops who have genes that help metabolize the gas were less likely to develop the myriad of symptoms associated with the mysterious illness than those without it, according to the new research, which was released Wednesday. The findings were published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed medical journal.