THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Transcripts: 563.2 to 563.4

Week: 563.2 Guest: Dr. Robert Haley, Chief Epidemiologist, Southwestern Med. Cntr, Dallas, TX Topic: The causes of Gulf War Syndrome Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: The roots of Gulf War Syndrome...coming up...

SPOT: NEMA...the National Emergency Medicine Association...fights our worst health enemies - heart disease, stroke, trauma. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: A team of researchers at Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have found some answers to mysterious Gulf War Syndrome questions. Dr. Robert Haley outlines the syndromes many soldiers share...

HALEY: The first one we call "impaired cognition", because it has to do with difficulty in thinking and remembering, and just abnormalities of brain function, including depression and insomnia... "confusion ataxia" syndrome, characterized by veterans who felt confused a lot of the time...that is, they would go driving out around town and would not be able to remember where they were going, or where they were. And the third syndrome, "arthromyoneuropathy" syndrome, was characterized by pains in the joints, pains and weakness in the muscles, and fatigue.

NEMA: They found the illnesses were caused by interactions between pesticides the soldiers were using or wearing, chemical weapons, and anti-nerve gas tablets. Dr. Haley believes nobody was at fault for the chemical exposures. The first wish of affected veterans has come true: their afflictions have been verified. Treatment is the next priority. More on this in our next two shows. I'm Steve Girard at the Heart of the Matter.

Transcripts:

Week: 563.3 Guest: Dr. Robert Haley, Chief Epidemiologist, Southwestern Med. Cntr, Dallas, TX Topic: The treatment of Gulf War Syndrome Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: Treating Gulf War Syndromes...coming up....

SPOT: For 15 years, the National Emergency Medicine Association has worked against stroke, heart disease and trauma. Join the effort, call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: Papers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show Gulf War Syndrome is real...in fact three separate syndromes which the researchers say have been caused by exposure to different sets of chemicals soldiers faced during the conflict. Dr. Robert Haley's team believes the chemicals had deep neurophysiologic effects on the veterans, causing confusion, vertigo, depression, weakness and memory problems.

HALEY: If it's true that they're caused by nerve and brain damage, and spinal cord damage, it's unlikely that they're going to be...that we're going to be able to cure them.

NEMA: But the studies continue....

HALEY: ...trying to really pin down what parts of the brain and nervous system and other parts of the body are actually damaged, and how they're malfunctioning to help us develop really good medications or rehabilitation strategies to treat these symptoms.

NEMA: Dr. Haley has talked to hundreds of Gulf War vets, sick and well, and says they've had a hard fight to get the medical community and government to believe their symptoms are real...but the neurologic nature of their problems made it hard to find the cause. Next time, the Gulf War maladies bring shadows of Vietnam. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.

Week: 563.4 Guest: Dr. Robert Haley, Chief Epidemiologist, Southwestern Med. Cntr, Dallas, TX Topic: Making the case for Gulf War Syndrome Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: A hard sell for Gulf War Syndrome...in a moment...

SPOT: NEMA...the National Emergency Medicine Association...fights our worst health enemies - heart disease, stroke, trauma. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: It's taken the better part of five years to get some strong evidence to support Gulf War veterans, who claimed they suffered from confusion, vertigo, memory, depression, insomnia and muscle and joint pain and weakness. Dr. Robert Haley of Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas explains why...

HALEY: They were complaining about a lot of very vague symptoms that are due to malfunctions of some of the deep parts of the nervous system...that even the patients themselves can't articulate well...that are very difficult to measure with our usual medical tests.

NEMA: They found there was nerve and brain malfunction present in many of the 250 servicemen studied...and chemical exposures the cause. Continued study will aim at just what is affected and how. But Dr. Haley says the veterans feel they've won the first battle...

HALEY: ...to just agree that there is some problem here...make them better if it's possible. But if it's not, just the recognition that they were wounded in this war.

NEMA: Three papers on Gulf War Syndrome are in the January 15th Journal of the American Medical Association. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.