Gulf War Syndrome Vets Have Brain Damage: Study
Abnormalities turn up on scans, likely caused by nerve gas
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2011 2:45 AM CDT
British Gulf War veterans hold placards opposite the Palace of Westminster in London during a protest earlier this year to mark the 20th Anniversary of the end of the first Gulf War.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

(Newser) – Gulf War Syndrome vets have notable brain abnormalities likely triggered by nerve gas, researchers have discovered. The finding flies in the face of years of Defense Department pronouncements that the syndrome—characterized by pain, lack of concentration and memory loss—is psychological, and linked to combat stress. But vets suffering from the syndrome show marked abnormalities in their brains that show up on MRIs, a University of Texas study has found. Damaged parts of the brain react differently to an injected neurotransmitter, reports the Dallas Observer.

Researchers believe the abnormalities were caused by exposure to small amounts of sarin gas—thought another study has indicated that drugs given to service members to protect against nerve gas may have also been toxic. "This was really one of the first techniques to show an objective picture of whether there's really brain damage or not," said the lead researcher in the current study. But theories now about how to treat the problem are a "shot in the dark," he added. The Veteran Administration estimates that a quarter of the 700,000 troops deployed to the 1991 Persian Gulf War suffer from the syndrome.

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Showing 3 of 5 comments
plain_speaking
Sep 17, 2011 3:14 AM CDT
Thank You University of Texas...we obviously can trust the Defense Department....
modernserf
Sep 16, 2011 8:27 PM CDT
Truly sad and my heart goes out to these soldiers. Even more sad that they did it all in the service of our endless thirst for oil.
Dave99
Sep 16, 2011 7:47 AM CDT
From "War Is A Racket" clip - "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."