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The symptoms of Gulf War illness 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, a Sergeant First Class (retired) for the United States Army.
He says, “I was seven months in the desert.”
Shortly after coming home, his health took a turn for the worse.
Arocho adds, “Full body pain, muscle and joint pain.”
Dr. Nancy Klimas, Dir. of the Gulf War Illness Program, Miami VA Hospital, explains, “In 1990 and 91, we sent 800,000 U.S. troops to the middle east to fight in the first Gulf War.”
Dr. Klimas says those soldiers were exposed to multiple chemical toxins including Organo-Phosphate in their uniforms.
Dr. Klimas continues, “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.”
Dr. 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.
Dr. Klimas says, “In this particular study we’re using a biologic intervention.”
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. Arocho hopes this research will finally lead to some relief for his fellow soldiers.
Arocho says, “I really want to see an effective treatment across all of what is causing the Gulf War illness.”
Despite his own pain, Arocho travelled to Puerto Rico to help hurricane victims. Once a soldier always a civil servant.
Dr. Klimas Believes a treatment for Gulf War illness will be available in about five years, most likely in the form of an injection.