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Commentary on the paper by Kelsall et al (Occup Environ Med, December 2004)*
The story of Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) just won’t go away. It’s healthier now than ever. The controversy about whether a Gulf War specific syndrome exists and what may have caused it is one of claim and counter claim. In the UK the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has always strongly denied that anything amounting to a “Gulf War syndrome” exists, though it has accepts that some veterans have become ill and have been paid benefits accordingly. However, disgruntled veterans of the Gulf War have had a recent boost to their battered morale when a recent privately funded inquiry in the UK heard evidence in relation to the subject. The witnesses included scientists, senior military commanders, and veterans. Although the Law Lord who is presiding over the inquiry has yet to publish his report, it is hard to see how the findings will not fan the flames rather than douse the fire. Another source of flammable material in the debate was the recent report by the US Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War veterans’ illnesses which concluded that “a substantial proportion of Gulf War veterans are ill with multisymptom conditions not explained by wartime stress or psychiatric illness”.1
There can be no doubt that both physical and psychological ill health is associated with military service during the 1991 Gulf War. In common with …