Feb 242014
 

fayettevilleobs

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014 12:00 am

By Drew Brooks Staff writer

Researchers at East Carolina University have another year to study an illness linked to Gulf War veterans.

A $1.1 million study on the illness had been set to end this year, according to school officials. But it will now be extended through 2015.

The research is focused on the causes of the illness and medicines that might be used to treat it, according to a news release.

Gulf War illness is the chronic fatigue, chronic pain and difficulty with mental tasks suffered by some who served in the first Gulf War.

According to the National Institute of Medicine, the illness affects almost one-third, or about 250,000, of the veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War.

Dr. William Meggs, a medical toxicologist and professor of emergency medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina, is the study leader, according to ECU.

Meggs said the illness is thought to be linked to toxic exposures to Sarin gas, oil well fires and depleted uranium. His study is funded by the Department of Defense and involves 40 veterans from the Carolinas and Virginia.

ECU said the school is looking for another 20 veterans for continuing research into the effectiveness of drugs that control inflammation in the brain that may have been triggered by the toxic exposures.

Another ECU researcher, Dr. Kori Brewer, is a co-investigator studying blood tests that could aid in the diagnosis of Gulf War illness.

Together, the ECU team is trying to develop a diagnostic test for the illness, according to officials.

Gulf War veterans interested in knowing more about the study can contact Allison Mainhart at 252-744-5568.

Staff writer Drew Brooks can be reached at brooksd@fayobserver.com or 486-3567.

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