Doctor to test bacteria theory for Gulf War Syndrome
Believes lack of immunity,
not chemical warfare,
caused vets' illnesses
February 19, 1997
Web posted at: 3:21 p.m. EST (2021 GMT)
From Correspondent Brian Cabell
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- After a four-year battle, Congress has
allocated $3 million to a New Orleans doctor who believes he
can help solve the mystery of Gulf War Syndrome.
Dr. Edward Hyman testified before Congress and wrote and
phoned the Pentagon urging funding to test his theory that
veterans with the syndrome are actually suffering from a
severe bacterial infection.
But the Pentagon blocked his requests, despite evidence that
he'd had some success treating 10 Gulf War vets and their
wives with large infusions of antibiotics.
"There were matters of oversight and patient safety," a
defense official said, "that have now been resolved to
Both Congress and the Pentagon have signed off on the funding
"Now they are going to have to fund his research and he has
the opportunity to show his stuff," said Louisiana
Congressman Bob Livingston. (111K/9 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Although the Department of Defense has recently conceded that
thousands of soldiers may have been exposed to chemical
weapons in the Gulf, Hyman does not believe chemicals -- or
biological warfare -- are the cause of their illness.
"I think the better bet is that we went into a geographical
area that has a variant of these germs, that we're not
familiar with, that we don't have any inherited immunity to,"
Hyman said. (111K/9 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
He is likely treat the sick veterans at the Touro Infirmary
in New Orleans, just across the street from his office. Still
to be determined: which veterans, and how many, will be
treated. The first are expected in New Orleans by May.
Hyman expects to conclude his study by the end of the year.
If his therapy proves successful, thousands more veterans
could be in line for similar treatment.
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