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Gulf War Illnesses

Volume 687: debated on Wednesday 29 November 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Drayson on 9 October (WA 47) and 22 June (WA 99), what information the Ministry of Defence has received from its liaison officer in Washington DC on the range, scope and cost in the current financial year of federally funded research at the Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas into Gulf War veterans’ illnesses; when the information was received; and what assessment the department has made of its possible relevance among British veterans of the conflict. [HL23]

Our liaison officer in Washington forwarded on 5 May 2006 a publicly available report of the earmarking of $75 million over five years from financial year 2006 for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre to carry out further work to investigate the possibility of neurological abnormalities in the brains and nervous systems of Gulf War veterans. He continued to monitor the position and on 15 November reported that a contract between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre had been signed. Details, including those of costs, have yet to be released. We take a close interest in this research in relation to our wider work to investigate the causes of Gulf War veterans’ illnesses. However, we will not be in a position to make a detailed assessment of its possible relevance to British veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict until further details are released in the new year by the US authorities.