- A medical assessment of 1,000 veterans
of the 1991 war by Britain's Ministry of Defence concluded that the ailments
of the men are real but they are not a unique illness.
- "We found no evidence of a single
illness, psychological or physical, to explain the pattern of symptoms
that we have seen," Dr Bill Coker and his colleagues at the Ministry
of Defense said in a report published in the British Medical Journal.
- About 50,000 British soldiers served
in the war that ousted Iraqi troops from Kuwait. The veterans' complaints
ranged from sleep disturbances and skin problems to stomach aches and respiratory
- The most common problems were headaches,
fatigue, muscle and joint aches and cognitive problems.
- Veterans' groups blame the mysterious
illness on exposure to organophosphate pesticides or the cocktail of drug
service personnel were given to protect them from possible chemical and
- Nearly 60 percent of the veterans who
were assessed in the study had more than one diagnosed illness, and 39
percent had at least one ailment that doctors could not pinpoint.
- "Although post-traumatic stress
disorder in these veterans could often be ascribed to Gulf War service,
it was usually impossible to determine the link between other reported
conditions and Gulf War service," the doctors added.
- The latest research is consistent with
a study published earlier this month which concluded the Gulf War Syndrome
does not appear to exist.
- "Although a growing consensus is
emerging from the clinical and epidemiologcal evidence that there is no
Gulf War syndrome, a rare medical condition in a small subgroup of Gulf
War veterans cannot be excluded conclusively," Frances Murphy of the
Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington said in a commentary in the
- British Armed Forces Minister Doug Henderson
welcomed the new research saying it will be useful to veterans and the
medical and scientific communities.
- "The MOD will continue its policy
of vigorously addressing the health concerns of Gulf veterans," he
said in a statement.