Congress approves Gulf War illness funding

Dec. 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Congress has approved $10 million for Gulf War illness research, ending worries of U.S. veterans' groups that the money would fall victim to budget woes.

Money for specific research into a variety of ailments suffered by veterans of the Persian Gulf War was included in the spending bill passed by the Senate Saturday and signed by President Barack Obama.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who led House efforts to restore the funding, said it was sorely needed.

"When one out of three who served is affected, and when some veterans' maladies are turning into long-term health problems like ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease], and when researchers are getting closer every single year to finding a treatment with this program, there is an urgency," Kucinich told USA Today.

"It's comparatively little money that is doing an extraordinary amount of good and is the best hope we have for them."

About one in four veterans of the seven-month war, fought in 1990 and 1991, suffers from chronic health issues, including headaches, fatigue and widespread pain, memory and concentration problems, said Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., who also pushed for the funding.

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