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Gulf War Illnesses

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 20 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to evaluate the results of the research undertaken on behalf of the United States Congress-appointed Committee investigating Gulf War illnesses by the University of California, in San Diego, and published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with a view to assessing its relevance to the conditions of United Kingdom veterans. [HL2490]

The Ministry of Defence will examine any significant new research of which it becomes aware to assess its relevance to UK veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict. There are many research studies in the UK and elsewhere into the illnesses affecting Gulf veterans; most of these have been peer reviewed and published in scientific or medical journals and are usually available on the world wide web. The Government have particular arrangements to monitor the research undertaken in the United States; we have a British liaison officer based permanently in Washington DC who is tasked both with ensuring that the UK has full visibility of US research into Gulf veterans' illnesses and with providing a channel for communicating our own work to interested US parties. We are aware of a paper recently published by the Department of Medicine, University of California, entitled Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and Gulf War illnesses and are giving it consideration; however, we note that the paper is not based on a systematic review of the literature.