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Researchers find evidence of DNA damage in Vets with Gulf War illness


Senior Member
"Mitochondrial dysfunction among Veterans with GWI may help explain, in part, the persistence of this illness for over 25 years."

Researchers say they have found the “first direct biological evidence” of damage in Veterans with Gulf War illness to DNA within cellular structures that produce energy in the body.

Thefindingsappeared in the journalPLOS Onein September 2017.

A study that focused on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) included 21 Veterans with Gulf War illness (GWI) and seven controls.

In blood tests, researchers observed more lesions and more mitochondrial DNA—that is, extra copies of genes—in Veterans with Gulf War illness, relative to controls without the illness, suggesting excess DNA damage. Lesion frequency gives a direct measure of DNA damage, while the increased number of mtDNA copies reflects a response to the damage.

Both lesion frequency and the number of mtDNA copies vary in response to environmental toxins and together provide a reading of overall mitochondrial health, according to lead researcher Dr. Mike Falvo, a health sciences specialist at the VA New Jersey Health Care System.

He notes that everyone experiences some level of mtDNA damage, perhaps due to aging and environmental exposures, such as air pollution. In the study, the mtDNA damage was 20 percent greater in the Veteran group, compared with a control group that included three Veterans without GWI and four non-Veterans.


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“Greater mtDNA damage is consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction, which may contribute to symptoms of GWI, as well as persistence of this illness over time,” the researchers write. “We interpret these findings as evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in the pathobiology of GWI.”

Read article here -


Senior Member
"In a separate 2014 study of 46 Veterans with GWI, Golomb and her colleagues reported promising results for the nutritional supplement coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as a way to address the fatigue created by mitochondrial dysfunction. CoQ10 is thought to promote healthy mitochondria.

VA recently launched a three-year trial to determine if treatment with ubiquinol, a form of CoQ10, improves the physical function of Veterans suffering from Gulf War illness.

The study is being carried out at four VA medical centers: Miami, Boston, Minneapolis, and the Bronx, New York. Officials there are recruiting 200 Veterans with GWI for a double blind placebo study. The initiative is based on data supporting the need for methods that repair mitochondrial function and that replenish depleted antioxidant stores related to the illness, according to the principal investigator, Dr. Nancy Grace Klimas of the Miami VA Healthcare System.

Antioxidants are substances, such as vitamin C or beta carotene, that remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism."


Senior Member

"About Dioxin: Its chemical name is 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-para-dioxin, or TCDD. It is a persistent organic pollutant that contaminated Agent Orange and some of the other color-coded herbicides when the production of one of their components (2,4,5-T) was accelerated during wartime.[ii] TCDD is the most toxic of about 419 types of similar toxic compounds, which include PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). The chemical companies that produced the Vietnam-era herbicides say they were not fully aware of how toxic the dioxin contaminant was."