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New Report on Gulf War Illness Lacks Enough Evidence to Support Conclusions

Aired September 7, 2000 - 2:31 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: A new report on Gulf War illness today concludes there isn't enough evidence to say for sure what made U.S. troops sick.

Here's CNN's Brian Cabell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven hundred thousand American troops were deployed to the Middle East during the Gulf War. Tens of thousands of them came back sick.

But almost a decade later, doctors and scientists still can't decide whether the soldiers' illnesses were the result of exposure to chemical and biological agents in the Gulf.

HAROLD SOX, NATIONAL ACADEMIES' INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE: The bottom line is that we simply don't know enough to say whether there is a connection between exposure to these agents, or combinations of these agents, and specific health outcomes that remain long after the time of exposure.

CABELL: The new report from the National Academies' Institute of Medicine looked specifically at four possible exposures: the nerve agent Sarin; the tablet Pyridostigmine Bromide, designed to counter the effects of nerve agents; vaccines to prevent Anthrax and Botulism; and depleted Uranium.

In all cases, the report said, there was not enough evidence from previous studies to support a link between the agents and the soldiers' long-term illnesses. The scientists say the report was handicapped by a lack of information from the Gulf -- the exact dosages and exposures the troops may have received.

SOX: Without that crucial piece of information, we cannot draw conclusions about whether the agents present in the Gulf War are the cause of health problems in individual soldiers.

CABELL: The report recommends further study of all the agents to determine whether they might have had long-term effects on troops deployed in the Gulf.

Brian Cabell, CNN. (END VIDEOTAPE)

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