For years, many veterans of the first Gulf War have suffered from a mysterious, multi-symptom sickness known as “Gulf War Illness.” Recently, allegations have been made that the Department of Veteran Affairs has not done everything possible to aid veterans suffering from the illness, which is still not fully understood even two decades after the conflict began.
As the director of Baylor’s Veterans Health Research Program and an expert on Gulf War Illness research, Dr. Lea Steele was called to testify last month before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations related to these allegations. Steele told the committee that the VA has been slow to clearly and accurately acknowledge the problem and has failed to establish an effective and strategic scientific research program to address Gulf War illness research questions. [Watch Steele's testimony here, beginning at the 1:35:38 mark, or read the transcript of her appearance here.]
Steele, who is also a research professor in Baylor’s Institute of Biomedical Studies, later was a guest on NPR’s “Science Friday” to discuss current research on the causes and possible treatments for Gulf War Illness. (She was able to appear live on the radio program from the studios of KWBU-FM on the Baylor campus.) [Click here to listen to the show.]
Baylor’s research on Gulf War Illness (led by Steele) last fall was awarded a grant of $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to address multiple aspects of the syndrome, from studies on the biological processes causing the varied symptoms to development of a nationwide network that would advance health research on the issue.
Sic ’em, Dr. Steele and Baylor researchers!