A new study found the “first biological evidence” that veterans with Gulf War Illness have unique DNA damage found in blood tests.
The studies show veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI) have 20 percent greater DNA damage than a control group. Blood tests showed veterans with GWI had greater lesions and more mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The mtDNA are extra copies of genes. Greater lesion frequency shows the extent of DNA damage. Higher numbers of mtDNA show the response level necessary for the body to respond to the damage.
Basically, more lesions result in more mtDNA to respond to the DNA damage.
“Mitochondrial dysfunction among Veterans with GWI may help explain, in part, the persistence of this illness for over 25 years,” the researchers wrote. “For example, chemical and environmental exposures during deployment may have provided the initial [harm] to mtDNA and accumulation of damage.”
The extent of the damage depends in large part on the toxins the veteran was exposed to during the Gulf War.
Given VA’s huge push for genomic data, how long do you think the agency will take to develop testing models to help veterans with GWI prove their disability?