What my eyes see I usually believe I am actually seeing. Now you can tell me I am wrong -- and you are entitled to your opinion. Yet, over three-decades in business, and for more times than I can remember, the expression "let's agree to disagree and move on" has been uttered as a final retort. But I have to tell you, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck you can call it a drake all you want. However, if you can not explain to me how you KNOW it is a drake and not a hen, then don't expect me to agree with you just because you "think" it is... or think it isn't so.
The Gulf War - What Is Known
A survey of over 10,000 ill veterans by the Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm Association found a variety of symptoms that at least 80% of the surveyed veterans experienced. These symptoms include: Sleep Problems; Mood Swings; Neuropsychological Symptoms (including memory loss); Chronic Fatigue; Symptoms involving skin (including skin rashes and unusual hair loss); Neurological Symptoms (nervous system disorders including numbness in one's arm); Headaches; Abdominal Pain; Upper or Lower Respiratory System Symptoms; Sensitivity to Bright Light or Blurred Vision/Loose Focus, and; Gastrointestinal Symptoms (including recurrent diarrhea and constipation).
Of the 697,000 veterans from the war, over 110,000 have added their names to an American Legion Registry with over 80,000 symptomatic. A similar VA Registry found 80% symptomatic with a DoD Registry showing 85% symptomatic. According to a VFW survey, only about half of ill veterans have turned to the VA or DoD for registration and treatment, the rest seeking private medical care.
A survey of approximately 1,200 ill veterans performed by Former Senator Donald W. Reigle's (D-Michigan) staff found that 77% of spouses, 68% of children born after the war, experienced similar symptoms to those of the ill veterans or have birth defects. Yet only 25% of the children born before the war did.
The aforementioned Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm Association survey found that 51% of spouses were ill and 22% of children.
Gulf War Syndrome - What Was Recently Published and What It Means To Gulf War Veterans
It has been published that the unexplained symptoms that afflict thousands of Gulf War veterans don't constitute a single illness, this based on the conclusion of a recent VA funded Institute of Medicine study -- an interpretation that is not necessarily correct.
As a result of this, Gulf War Veterans can now only claim their benefits by making an "undiagnosed illness" claim.
Considering the difficulties experienced by those veterans whose claims are... for a diagnosed and recognized illness, the phrase "A snowball's chance in ..." comes to mind.
Gulf War Syndrome - What Really Was Recently Published
Gulf War and Health, Volume 4: Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War (
"Although veterans of the first Gulf War report significantly more symptoms of illness than soldiers of the same period who were not deployed, studies have found no cluster of symptoms that constitute a syndrome unique to Gulf War veterans, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine."
I agree that we can not tell if it's a drake or a hen, but can't we at least admit it's some kind of not-yet-identified duck.
"Gulf War veterans consistently report experiencing a wide range of symptoms, and this [is] the case for both American veterans and military personnel from Canada, Australia, and other countries who served in the Persian Gulf." "Many studies based on self-reports by Gulf War veterans have found a higher prevalence of [similar] symptoms. "[However,] [t]here are no objective diagnostic tests available to validate these self-reported disorders." "[And because both the official and self-reported] symptoms vary greatly among individuals, they do not point to a syndrome unique to these veterans. Unfortunately, because of the lack of objective pre-deployment health information, we do not have the baseline data needed to draw more definitive conclusions about many aspects of these veterans' long-term health."
If I understand what you've just said, while you have found something that has caused illnesses among those who served, since certain data isn't readily available, you're not willing to comment on the going forward affects of what you found, even though you know of the effects it has had on those in whom you found it. Hmmm.
Which brings to mind....
About Three Statisticians and A Null Hypothesis
There's an old joke that goes along these lines. Three Statisticians were looking for a job. During interviews they were all asked for their answer to the same problem. The first commented on the procedures and processes he would have to follow in order to answer the question. The second also made similar comments. However, he then proceeded to arrive at a conclusion using what he said, and he was correct, were the most likely findings based on the company's industry and their position in the industry's market. The third Statistician, upon being given the problem, thought for but a few seconds. He then turned to his interviewers and said, "What would you, like, the answer to be?" Candidate Three got the job.
In lay-terms a Null Hypothesis to test could be: There is no Gulf War syndrome - that is, the unexplained symptoms that afflict thousands of Gulf War veterans don't constitute a single illness; there is no cluster of symptoms that constitute a syndrome unique to Gulf War veterans.
Now we go on our merry way, gather and test our data, and prepare to arrive at our conclusion.
And here's the rub -- the null hypothesis is presumed true until statistical evidence indicates otherwise.
If, perchance, my testing does not provide statistical evidence that indicates my Null Hypothesis is invalid, I am 100% in my rights to say, in this case, "The unexplained symptoms that afflict thousands of Gulf War veterans do not point to a syndrome unique to these veterans."
Let me say that again, it would be (totally, absolutely, 150 percent, statistically) correct to say my tests "do not point to a syndrome unique to these veterans." Why? Not because I proved my Null Hypothesis -- but because I did not disprove it!
Now the statisticians amongst us know what we have done -- not disproved our Null Hypothesis.
However, I would suggest the majority of us might be inclined to think that based on the testing's results...
"The unexplained symptoms that afflict thousands of Gulf War veterans don't constitute a single illness, and as a result, Gulf War Veterans now need to make their claims as an 'undiagnosed illness' claim, which doesn't have a snowball's chance in ...."
Yep, clearly a Candidate Three Situation.
--- Regards, Walt Schmidt