from The American Legion Magazine
by Ken Olsen
Brian Engdahl sees the day when a blood test could remove all doubt about who’s suffering from Gulf War Illness. It may be less than five years away.
The key is the way an individual’s immune system is genetically programmed to respond to environmental insults, says Engdahl, a researcher at the University of Minnesota Brain Sciences Center and the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. Such insults include the toxic exposures veterans experienced during the first Gulf War.
Engdahl and fellow researchers recently analyzed the health history, immune system genetics and brain scans of approximately 240 Gulf War veterans. Forty-six had no medical complaints. Ninety-one had medical problems, and another 98 had both medical and mental health issues. That variation indicates that some people are able to tolerate high levels of exposure to environmental toxins, while others become seriously ill. The difference appears to be determined by an individual’s particular human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex. Each individual’s HLA is determined by genetics. And the HLA type can be identified with a blood test. [read more]