Autoimmune Study News
Blood Test Could Determine Who May Suffer from Gulf War Illness
"You don't think you'll have to fight when going into the Army," he said.
He was deployed for seven months during the first gulf war.
"We were attached to the seventh corps, and the seventh corps is who breached the berms from Saudi Arabia into Iraq," he said. "And we pushed across the country and made it all the way to the highway of death."
Zimmermann said he finished out his duty at a base in Kansas. Even before he came back from Iraq he knew something was wrong with him. Ever since that time, he said he has suffered from anxiety and feeling as if his skin is on fire.
"I have joint pain all the time, it doesn't go away. Sometimes it gets worse, it feels like your joints are exploding from the inside," he said.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are roughly 200,000 vets affected by
Gulf War Illness. Ten thousand of those vets live here in Minnesota.
Dr. Brian Engdahl at the
Brain Sciences Centerat the V.A. says, researchers have been testing
GWIsince 1991. What they're doing now is brand new.
"So we said, lets get right down to it, lets look at your genes," Engdahl said.
For his study 82 vets were recruited who were interviewed and donated blood.
What they found was groundbreaking. Engdahl and his fellow researchers could determine from person to person by taking blood they could figure out who would suffer from
GWIwith a high degree of accuracy.
How high is the accuracy? About 90 percent.
Engdahl said the breakthrough allows them to help people avoid these illnesses in the future by predicting patterns.
Zimmermann said he's thankful for findings.
"Someone needs to get it out there that 200,000 men and women are in pain," Zimmermann said.