Gulf War Syndrome—Navy News Considers My Prediction

Majid Ali, M.D.

1995: Navy News

Gulf War Syndrome—Who’s Addressing the Issue? Long before the first veterans returned from the Persian Gulf Dr. Majid Ali, associate professor of pathology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York, predicted five outcomes: (1) That a large number of service men and women in the Persian Gulf region would return with a variety of chronic environmental, immune and stress-related problems; (2) The disabling fatigue would be a dominant clinical feature while other symptoms would include recurrent infection, food allergy reactions, abdominal problems, disorders of mood and memory, and skin rashes, among others; (3) That sick veterans would initially be dismissed as malingerers and labeled with various psychiatric diagnoses and prescribed large doses of mind- numbing drugs; (4) That the chronic health disorders of these veterans would worsen with multiple drug therapies; and (5) That when everything else failed, these veterans would be prescribed long-term broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy that would play further havoc with their bowel systems. Five years later these predictions are now observable facts. Headlines debate the cause and fate of those men and women who left healthy and returned home sick—nearly 75,000 at last count. (Navy News, September 13, 1995)

1996: The New York Times

[Currant evidence does not support a causal link between the symptoms of chronically ill veterans of the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf. (Report of the President’s Advisory Committee to President Clinton. (Quoted by The New York Times, October 15, 2004.)

2004: The New York Times

Chemicals Sickened Gulf War Veterans, Latest Study Finds: A federal panel of medical experts studying illnesses among veterans of the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf has broken with several earlier studies and concluded that many suffer from neurological damage caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, rejecting past findings that the ailments resulted mostly from wartime stress . . . the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses concluded in its draft report that “a substantial proportion of Gulf war veterans are ill with multisymptom conditions not explained by wartime stress or psychiatric illness.” (The New York Times, front page, October 15, 2004)

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