Thanks to Rep. Buchanan for support on Gulf War veterans health issues

April 6, 2014 

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Florida Congressional District 13 Rep. Vern Buchanan. FILE PHOTO-GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

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I want to thank Congressman Vern Buchanan for co-signing this year's congressional request for continuation of a critically important veterans' health program, the treatment-focused Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (GWIRP).

To date, GWIRP-funded studies have found Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and acupuncture effective in relieving some GWI symptoms, evidence of a chronic GWI inflammatory state, confirmation of neurological damage and brain neurochemistry changes following low-level nerve agent exposure, a potential explanation of GWI immunological dysfunction, immune dysfunction in GWI after exercise challenge, GWI gender differences, evidence suggesting small fiber peripheral neuropathy, lipid dysfunction following GWI exposures, and other findings important in aiding veterans with GWI.

Some GWIRP-funded research is taking place right here in Florida, including at the Roskamp Institute near the SRQ airport, at VA-Miami, at the University of Florida, and at a consortia based at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, one of just two in the nation.

I'm a 1991 Gulf War veteran who has been among a handful of national leaders on these issues for most of the last two decades.

I'm also pleased to be a new resident to Florida. Last March, when I was asked to testify before Congress on these issues yet again, not only did Rep. Buchanan personally call to welcome me to Washington and offer his assistance, but he sent a staff member to attend the entire hearing, co-signed the funding measure; did so again this year on short notice, and is currently considering co-signing a critically important bill to restore GWI research independence that has made national news (HR4261).

I have long believed that veterans' issues should and must remain bipartisan. I'm pleased Rep. Buchanan and his staff have demonstrated strong support for us Gulf War veterans, for which I am deeply grateful.

Anthony Hardie

Bradenton

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