GULF WAR SYNDROME: Pentagon Should Implement Reforms, Times Says
In the wake of last week's "heated" hearing on the Pentagon's role in military health, a Los Angeles Times editorial calls for "a concerted federal effort to improve research and treatment of the so-called Gulf War syndrome." Noting that an Institute of Medicine report issued last week "shows that Pentagon officials have failed to implement key reforms recommended in five studies -- namely improvements in medical monitoring of environmental hazards in battle theaters," the editorial supports two "sensible and long-overdue steps." First, the editorial advocates funding more independent research because "Pentagon officials may have a conflict of interest in funding studies that might one day show they failed to adequately protect the health of their troops." Second, the editorial urges the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that "all Gulf War veterans are treated regardless of whether they can prove that their symptoms are service-related." The editorial concludes, "Military delays in implementing reforms are increasingly dangerous because traditional bulwarks like armor are powerless to deter today's deadliest biological weapons," which have "made medical readiness more essential than ever to military readiness" (Los Angeles Times, 10/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.