Gulf War veterans achieved a major victory recently, when the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi declared that motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) was related to service in the Gulf War.
Principi is the first to officially connect a specific illness with the Gulf War. This means that veterans are now entitled to full disability and survivor benefits for those who have the disease.
Acknowledgement of the disease link came on the heels of a government study of 2.5 million US servicemen and -women showing that the incidence of the disease among those who served in the Gulf War was nearly double that of those who did not.
Some 40,000 British troops served in the Gulf War, but the UK Ministry of Defence is awaiting peer review of these findings before taking any action (BMJ, 2002; 324: 65).