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Major Focus Areas
Health and Human Services Department of Defense Veterans Affairs Health and Human Services Gulf War Information Department of Defense Gulf War Information Veterans Affairs Gulf War Information Home Home Advanced Search Glossary FAQs Site Map Contact Us
 Research Topics    |    Major Focus Areas    |    Reports
Major Focus Areas

Biological Warfare Agents
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Chemical Warfare Agents
Depleted Uranium, DU
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Pesticides
Pyridostigmine Bromide, PB
Reproductive Health
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Undiagnosed Illnesses
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Department of Health and Human Services

The Health Impact of Chemical Exposures During the Gulf War
Recommendations regarding the direction of future research on undiagnosed illnesses among Gulf War veterans and their possible links with multiple chemical and environmental exposures are available in "The Health Impact of Chemical Exposures During the Gulf War: A Research Planning Conference (Final Report)."

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the US government�s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHS is the largest grant-making agency in the federal government, providing some 60,000 grants per year.

The department includes more than 300 programs covering a wide spectrum of activities, including:
  • Medical and social science research
  • Preventing outbreak of infectious disease, including immunization services
  • Assuring food and drug safety
  • Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
  • Financial assistance and services for low-income families
  • Improving maternal and infant health
  • Head Start (pre-school education and services)
  • Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
  • Substance abuse treatment and prevention
  • Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
  • Comprehensive health services for Native Americans

PARTICIPATION IN GULF WAR RESEARCH

Since 1992, HHS has conducted eight research projects into the health effects of service in the Gulf War. Projects range from the health impacts of low-level exposures to organophosphates (pesticides) to the study of reported birth defects among children born to Gulf War veterans. Studies also assessed the prevalence of symptoms and conditions among Gulf War veterans and their non-deployed peers and assessed biomarkers of chemical exposure. The statuses of these research projects are published each year in the Annual Report to Congress, Federally Sponsored Research on Gulf War Illnesses, and are available on this Web site�s Research Topics menu.

In February and March 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services convened a conference of scientists, clinicians, veterans� service organizations, congressional staff, and other interested parties to discuss and make recommendations regarding the direction of future research on undiagnosed illnesses among Gulf War veterans and their possible links with multiple chemical and environmental exposures.

During the conference, concurrent workgroups were asked to develop research recommendations in four areas:

  1. pathophysiology, etiology, and mechanisms of action
  2. assessment and diagnosis of illnesses
  3. treatment
  4. prevention of illnesses in future deployments
These recommendations are available in "The Health Impact of Chemical Exposures During the Gulf War: A Research Planning Conference (Final Report)."

HHS AGENCIES

The following HHS agencies are instrumental in the conduct or oversight of research into the illnesses of Gulf War veterans.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Working with states and other partners, CDC provides a system of health surveillance to monitor and prevent disease outbreaks (including bioterrorism), implement disease prevention strategies, and maintain national health statistics. The CDC also guards against international disease transmission, with personnel stationed in more than 25 foreign countries.

The CDC director is also administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which helps prevent exposure to hazardous substances from waste sites on the US Environmental Protection Agency´s National Priorities List, and develops toxicological profiles of chemicals found at these sites.

National Center for Environmental Health—also part of the CDC—is unique in the federal government for its focus on public health issues related to the environment. NCEH�s work covers the breadth of the human life span, from preventing birth defects and developmental disorders to helping an increasingly older population minimize the impact of disabilities on their lives. The Veterans´ Health Activity Working Group within the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects has taken the lead for NCEH on Gulf War-related health issues.

National Institutes of Health - NIH is the world�s premier medical research organization, supporting some 35,000 research projects nationwide in diseases like cancer, Alzheimer�s, diabetes, arthritis, heart ailments and AIDS.