UTSW and SMU Team Up to Gather Evidence of Gulf War Syndrome

Dr. Robert Haley

Ten years ago in the paper version of Unfair Park, former Observer-er Ann Zimmerman chronicled in great detail Dr. Robert Haley's war with the naysayers over Gulf War Syndrome, which Haley said existed and government officials said was nothing but a figment of sufferers' imaginations. A decade later, the UT Southwestern epidemiologist and U.S. Armed Forces Veterans Distinguished Chair for Medical Research hasn't given up the fight: This morning, SMU announced that three profs in its Department of Statistical Science are going to use "spatial statistical modeling to analyze brain scan data from Persian Gulf War veterans, aiming to pinpoint specific areas of the their brains affected by Gulf War Syndrome."

Update: Before jumping, you may want to read this piece forwarded to us by a Friend of Unfair Park. It ran on Monday in The Austin American-Statesman and says, among other things, one in four Gulf War vets are indeed sick and that the government hasn't done nearly enough to help them. Who says? The government.

The release details the procedure, which involves using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to scan the brains of Gulf War vets; that's currently being done at UTSW, under Haley's supervision. Only last year, researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health announced they had "found signs of structural brain changes in Gulf War veterans with multiple health problems." Haley, who had nothing to do with that study, was quoted in the CBS News story as saying, "There is a loss of brain cells due to a toxic effect of pesticides and nerve gas, which then causes brain volume shrinkage." --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky