- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Veterans Affairs Department said yesterday that it no longer will pay for studies that seek to show stress is the primary cause of mysterious ailments afflicting thousands of veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

For years the federal government has pointed to stress as the likely reason for the sicknesses. But VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi scheduled a press conference to announce the department will set aside up to $15 million for a year of Gulf war illness research, with the stipulation the money not pay for studies that propose stress as the only explanation for the ailments, said Stephan Fihn, the VA’s acting chief research and development officer.

“More on the stress area per se isn’t going to move us forward,” Mr. Fihn said.

Mr. Principi’s decision comes as a result of a report issued yesterday by an advisory committee he appointed.

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness spent the past two years reviewing studies and recommended that the VA abandon stress studies and focus on toxic substances.

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