Michael Bauer is one of the tens of thousands of Gulf War veterans who came home plagued with health problems.
Michael Bauer, Desert Storm Veteran: "HEADACHES, MUSCLE AND JOINT PAIN, FATIGUE, SLEEPLESSNESS, MEMORY AND CONCENTRATION PROBLEMS."
So Bauer is now taking part in a clinical study at the VA Medical Center.
UC San Francisco researcher Dr. Michael Weiner is doing scans of the brains of hundreds of veterans, trying to see if there is a common link, something that could explain what happened in Desert Storm.
Some previous studies have shown the brains of some Gulf War vets lack a key amino acid in nerve cells.
SOT Michael Weiner, M.D./ UCSF/VA Medical Center: "OUR PRIMARY GOAL IS SIMPLY TO SEE WHETHER OR NOT THERE REALLY ARE CHANGES IN THE BRAIN THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ILLNESS. THEN IT MAY BE IF WE FIND THOSE CHANGES, THEN LATER STUDIES CAN BE DONE TO FIND THOSE CAUSES."
Those causes could be everything from anthrax vaccinations or anti-nerve gas pills given to troops, to exposure to depleted uranium used in ammunition, to environmental toxins from burning oil wells or Iraqi chemical weapons, or a combination of them.
It's a small step, and results are years away.
But Michael Bauer says he's happy to take part in anything that could help find the cause or causes, and more importantly, lead to treatments for Gulf War illness.
Michael Bauer: "THEY MAY NOT KNOW THE EXACT ORIGIN OF IT, BUT AT LEAST THEY HAVE TAKEN THE STEPS NECESSARY TO RECOGNIZE IT AND THEN DO THEIR BEST TO HELP THE VETERANS IN WHATEVER WAY THEY CAN."