MCS Referral & Resources

2326 Pickwick Road, Baltimore, MD 21207-6631, 410-448-3319, fax 448-3317

professional outreach, patient support and public advocacy

devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, accommodation and prevention

of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorders


Press Release -- For Immediate Release, Thursday, 15 February 1996

For more information, call Albert Donnay, 410-448-3319


Presidential Advisory Committee On Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses

Fails To Address Musculoskeletal Conditions:

The Top Ranking Category of Illness Among

Gulf War Veterans Still On Active Duty

MCS Referral & Resources (MCS R&R), a Baltimore-based organization devoted to increasing awareness of multiple chemical sensitivity disorders, today criticized the Presidential Advisory Committee On Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses for failing to address musculoskeletal conditions, the top ranking category of illness among Gulf War veterans still on active duty. According to Defense Department (DoD) data presented to the committee by MCS R&R at its first meeting last August, 56% of the sick veterans examined in its Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program (CCEP) have musculoskeletal problems, compared to 51% with unexplained illness and 46% with psychiatric diagnoses. Despite four years of federal research into Gulf War Syndrome, however, a recent evaluation of the CCEP by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that neither the Defense Department or any other federal agency has conducted or is even planning any medical research into the veterans' musculoskeletal problems.

Dr. Grace Ziem, the medical director of MCS R&R who has seen Gulf War veterans in her private practice, describes the failure to study musculoskeletal problems as "a colossal oversight demanding immediate priority attention," especially given that so many veterans appear to suffer not just from fibromyalgia but also the closely related symptoms of chronic fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivity.

MCS R&R executive director Albert Donnay recently presented the Presidential Advisory Committee with detailed testimony on the need to start tracking all these conditions [copy enclosed], which neither the VA or DoD are doing. He also strongly critiqued both the DoD and IOM for their unjustified focus on the veterans' less common psychiatric diagnoses. Although the committee chose to ignore these issues and much other critical testimony it received from veterans regarding their medical misdiagnosis and mistreatment at the hands of DoD and VA physicians, Mr. Donnay is confident that the truth about their illnesses cannot be suppressed forever. "The government's own data show that Gulf War Syndrome is a primarily physical and not a psychiatric condition," he said. "Trying to cover up this reality with psychiatric labels and behavioral counseling has neither fooled nor cured a single Gulf War veteran." MCS R&R is calling on the Presidential Advisory Committee to face these issues squarely in its final report.

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