November 13, 2004 in Nation/World

VA shifts Gulf War stress focus

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Veterans Affairs Department said Friday that it no longer will pay for studies that seek to show stress is the primary cause of mysterious ailments afflicting thousands of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.

For years the federal government has pointed to stress as the likely reason for the sicknesses. But Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi said the VA will set aside up to $15 million for a year of Gulf War illness research and none of the money will be used to pay for studies that propose stress as the only explanation for the ailments.

Principi’s decision comes as a result of a report issued Friday. The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness spent the past two years reviewing recent studies and recommended the VA abandon stress studies and focus on toxic substances veterans encountered during the war.

Many thousands of Gulf War veterans have experienced undiagnosed illnesses.

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