The 1990-1991 Gulf War was among the most impressive combat operations in modern history. Despite the brevity of the war and its successful outcome, many U.S. troops returned home reporting difficult, unexplained health symptoms. This complex of chronic symptoms, once labeled Gulf War Syndrome by the media, is now more commonly known as Gulf War illness. Gulf War illness affects at least one in four of the nearly 700,000 troops who served and few veterans have recovered in the 22 years since the war.
Scientific studies indicate that Gulf War illness is not a psychiatric condition and cannot be attributed to wartime stress, pointing instead to a number of deployment-related exposures as likely causes or contributors. Research has identified neurological, immune, and other biological alterations in veterans with Gulf War illness, but important work remains to better understand the physiological processes that drive veterans' symptoms and to identify effective treatments.
Baylor's Veterans Health Research Program, under the direction of epidemiologist Dr. Lea Steele of the Baylor Institute of Biomedical Studies, includes multiple projects conducted in conjunction with regional and national collaborators.
Current Baylor projects include:
Multisite Gulf War Research Consortia
In addition to major studies underway at Baylor, our investigators are collaborating with two multiproject, multisite research consortia headquartered at Boston University and Nova Southeastern University on studies designed to improve understanding of the pathophysiology of Gulf War illness, with the goal of identifying molecular processes that can be targeted for treatment.