VA Announces Partnership With National Institutes of Health to Study Gulf War Illness

WASHINGTON (April 17, 2023) – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced a partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a five-year study that seeks to understand the chronic symptoms associated Gulf War Illness.

The new research may lead to more specific diagnostic criteria for Gulf War Illness, new testing, and potential treatments, according to VA.

Gulf War Illness affects multiple body systems and includes chronic symptoms such as fatigue, headache, memory and cognitive issues, joint and muscle pain, and other health problems. Nearly 700,000 men and women who served in the Persian Gulf during the 1990-91 Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm are impacted, according to VA.

The study will include VA researchers screening Gulf War Veterans who meet the enrollment criteria through the Miami VA Medical Center and the California and Washington, D.C., sites of VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center. Veterans will then be referred to NIH to gain more insight into Gulf War Illness.

Referred Veterans will visit the NIH Clinical Center for up to two weeks, with most Veterans staying at the Clinical Center. Travel arrangements will be coordinated with the referred Veteran and the study team, according to VA.

Comprehensive testing will take place during the 14 days to study multiple body systems affected by Gulf War Illness, and how these systems operate at rest as well as under stress.

Gulf War Veterans interested in participating are encouraged to read the full VA announcement on its study partnership with NIH.