Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Gulf War veterans

First Posted: 11:14 am - October 3rd, 2015

By Thomas Crisp - Contributing Columnist

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Gulf War Veterans who develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) do not have to prove a connection between their illnesses and service to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. CFS must have emerged during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling.

CFS is an unexplained, severe and persistent fatigue that is not helped by rest. There may be flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, swollen lymph glands, low-grade fever, headache, muscle pain, and poor sleep. CFS often limits the person’s previous ability to carry on daily activities.

At this time, the cause is unknown. Because there is no definitive test, CFS is difficult to diagnose, although the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control has developed a set of diagnostic criteria. Patients may undergo a variety of tests to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Treatment focuses on alleviating the symptoms. Patients often work with their health care professional to devise an individual treatment program. This can be a combination of traditional and alternative methods to address symptoms, activity management, and coping techniques.

Many patients report relief from acupuncture, yoga and Tai Chi, which are offered at VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center and some VA medical centers. Find the nearest VA medical center. Other treatment options include antidepressants, counseling, support groups, and muscle relaxation techniques. [Gulf War Newsletter Spring of 2015]

New sticker OK’d

On April 28, the U. S. Army authorized the creation of a new window sticker to promote the Soldier for Life program. The new sticker, designated Department of the Army Label 180 (Soldier for Life), is depicted to the right. It will be available to Army units through the Army publications system this summer. It should also be available through commercial sources, including the Army & Air Force Exchange System (AAFES), this fall.

The Army created the Soldier for Life (SFL) window sticker to expand awareness of the Soldier for Life program and the mindset reflected in the SFL motto, “Once a Soldier, always a Soldier … a Soldier for Life!” Retiring Soldiers will be issued two of the window stickers in the Army Retiring Soldier Commendation Program (ARSCP) package they receive at retirement or, for Reserve Component Soldiers, when they transfer to the Retired Reserve. The ARSCP also includes an American flag, the Retired Army Lapel Button, which incorporate.

Where to get answers

Have you ever picked up a prescription, got home and realized you had a question? Maybe you had a headache but weren’t sure how the pain reliever would work with another medication you take? You’re not alone.

“Don’t be afraid to call and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain prescription directions again if you didn’t understand them the first time,” encourages Dr. George Jones, Chief of the Defense Health Agency Pharmacy Division. “And it’s always a good idea to write down any additional or special instructions so you don’t forget them once you get home.”

Your pharmacist should be the first resource you use to answer questions about your drugs. If you are taking an over-the-counter (OTC) medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol®), cough medicines, herbal supplements or aspirin, those drugs can interfere with other medications.

Because you purchased these products OTC, there is no record in the pharmacy’s computer system to prevent harmful drug interactions. It is important that you tell your pharmacist about taking OTC products when you fill any prescription. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is another good resource.

FDA’s Division of Drug Information (DDI) will answer almost any drug question and are easy to reach. The DDI responds to an average of 4,432 telephone calls, 1,531 emails and 91 letters with drug questions every month.these and other questions by calling Express Scripts, the contractor who manages the TRICARE prescription benefit at 1-877-363-1303. You can also call the FDA Division of Drug Information at 1-855-543-DRUG (3784) or email druginfo@fda.hhs.gov.

Loud noise gun

Imagine walking through a field on a cloudless day when you suddenly hear the 130-decibel roar of a fighter jet. But you can’t spot the jet, or even tell which direction the sound is coming from. Rather, it seems to originate from the thin air in front of your face, like a shout from an angry, Old-Testament God. No, you aren’t hallucinating.You’re experiencing a new type of military weapon intended not to kill but to startle an enemy into retreat. It’s called the Laser-Induced Plasma Effect, or LIPE, a weapon that the U.S. military hopes to begin testing in coming months.

LIPE is the brainchild of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program, a group tasked with inventing better options for crowd control and checkpoint security. The noise comes from a unique manipulation of matter and energy to produce loud sounds at specific target locations, sort of like an incredibly precise missile of noise.

Here’s how it works:

• Matter comes in four states: solid, liquid, gas, and what’s called plasma, the one least familiar to most people, though it’s actually the most common state of matter in the universe. You can think of it as gas plus. In the plasma state, high doses of energy have pulled electrons from their atomic nuclei, creating ions. A bunch of these hanging out is a state of matter that isn’t a liquid or solid and doesn’t behave exactly like a gas either, but rather has magnetic and electric properties and can take the form of light (think neon lights, or the Sun).

In 2004, the Navy tested plasma’s capabilities as a missile deflector in an initiative called Plasma Point Defense, another project with goals well beyond what the technology at the time could deliver. Such early plasma weapons were heavy — many weighed more than 500 pounds — and required enormous power to deliver very limited effects. That slowly began to change. In 2005, a company called Stellar Photonics was working on a precision sound weapon for JNLWD under a $2.7 million contract that was part of a program called Plasma Acoustic Sound System, or PASS.

By 2009, JNWLD was testing PASS, with some success. Law’s goal is to test at 100 meters in coming months and evaluate the program in its entirety by next May.

By Thomas Crisp

Contributing Columnist

Thomas Crisp is a retired military officer from Whitmire.


Thomas Crisp is a retired military officer from Whitmire.


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