Sunday, January 25, 2015
Baylor Scientist Finds First Direct Evidence of Gene-Exposure Link in Gulf War Illness
WACO, Texas (Jan. 20, 2015) — Nearly 24 years after the 1991 Gulf War, a Baylor University scientist has identified a significant link between Gulf War illness (GWI) and a genetic factor that can render some individuals more susceptible to adverse effects of certain chemicals.
The final study, published today in the BMC journal Environmental Health, found that veterans with identified variants of the butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) gene were 40 times more likely to have GWI if they took an anti-nerve gas pill called pyridostigmine bromide (PB) during the war, compared to veterans with similar genes who did not take the pill.
The study provides the first direct evidence of a specific gene-exposure interaction in veterans’ risk for GWI, the complex medical condition that afflicts at least one in four of the nearly 700,000 U.S. veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War.