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In response to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990, the United States led a coalition of 34 countries in a buildup of forces in the Persian Gulf called Operation Desert Shield. It was followed by Operation Desert Storm, which began in January 1991 with an air offensive and a 4-day ground war and was over by the end of February. A ceasefire was signed in April 1991. Almost 700,000 U.S. troops were deployed to the Persian Gulf region at the height of the buildup. Service members who were deployed were exposed to many hazardous agents and situations, both known and unknown.
In response to the variety of health problems and symptoms reported by veterans, Congress passed two laws directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to contract with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to review and evaluate the scientific and medical literature regarding associations between illness and exposure to toxic agents, environmental or wartime hazards, or preventive measures and vaccines associated with Gulf War service. Those findings were published in nine prior reports in the series Gulf War and Health. In this tenth and final report in the series, an expert committee assembled by the IOM reviews, evaluates, and summarizes the available scientific and medical literature regarding health effects in the 1990-1991 Gulf War veterans, with special attention to neurological disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and migraines), cancer (especially brain cancer and lung cancer), and chronic multisymptom illness (Gulf War illness). The resulting report, Gulf War and Health: Volume 10: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War, 2016, updates two previous reviews published in 2006 (Volume 4) and 2010 (Volume 8) and provides recommendations for future research efforts on Gulf War veterans