Being called up to active duty is stressful. That’s the most definitive conclusion of a study of Gulf War veterans by a University of Iowa doctor and professor, who says there’s no health syndrome unique to the Gulf War vets. Some of the people sent to the Gulf tested two-percent lower on functioning than those who didn’t go there. Dr. Gary Doebbeling says five years after they came home, there was a difference between reservists sent to the Gulf and those who weren’t called to active duty, and a much smaller difference from those who served active duty somewhere else. Some vets have suggested an illness unique to the Gulf region, or the large number of vaccinations the soldiers got.He says there’s convincing proof it’s not an infectious disease, and only one study hints the multiple immunizations had some effect. Doebbeling says the only clear link seems to be that soldiers with factors like smoking and lack of fitness before service were in poor shape afterward. He thinks troops could be prepared better for challenges they’ll face. Doebbeler says more study’s needed, but so far it seems clear Gulf War vets faced no singular threat to their health.He says it might be possible to prepare some better, and he’s reassured that some known medical conditions and factors can be modified or prevented to better protect soldiers’ health.
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