Tonight's first hour guest, Epidemiologist Dr. Robert W. Haley, has been studying the connection between Gulf War Syndrome and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) for the last decade. ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly progressive neurological disease that results in paralysis and eventually death. For those afflicted, there is no hope of cure for the disease.
A recently published study in this month's issue of Neurology(1) shows the rate of ALS in Gulf War veterans younger than 45 years of age was as much as three times more than the rate expected in the general population.
Dr. Halely notes, "ALS is extremely rare in young age groups. Our findings suggest that some environmental exposure that these veterans had in the Gulf War greatly accelerated the ALS process so that it occurred at a much younger age."
Despite mounting evidence, not everyone is convinced of the relationship between Gulf War service and ALS. Dr. Michael Rose of King's College Hospital in London believes the recent study to have "a number of potential flaws," but that "accumulation of further evidence [will allow] a firmer conclusion."