Ronald Brown, a Gulf War illness sufferer. Source
I had never heard about this until today. Apparently there is a condition known as "Gulf War illness". It is unclear whether this illness is caused by PTSD, war-time experiences, or exposure to toxins, but a new study done at Georgetown University seems to indicate that the cause of the illness may be due to neurological damage, possibly from exposure to toxins.
Here are the facts, a large proportion of the soldiers involved in the Gulf War have reported symptoms that were not traceable to any known disease or damage. This mysterious ailment was named "Gulf War illness", but there are no known treatments for it. Many medical professionals consider the illness to be psychological, while some think that it is physical damage from some unknown source. This new study found damage in the pain centers of the brains of affected Gulf War veterans, which would indicate some form of exposure to a pathogen or poison. The problem with the study is that the sample size is very, very small.
By itself, this Georgetown study will not bring any major changes to how we view this condition, but it may peak interest which could cause further research and eventually could create a treatment.
For the record, I don't pretend to know what causes this illness.
For more information, check out this article.