Brain researcher presented Legion's top award

A doctor who has conducted decades of research into Gulf War Illness and traumatic brain injuries among veterans was presented The American Legion’s top award Aug. 22 during the organization’s national convention in Reno, Nev.

Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos – director of the Brain Sciences Center in the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and The American Legion Family-University of Minnesota Brain Sciences Chair – was presented The American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal.

The American Legion Department of Minnesota raised $1 million in the late 1980s to fund the Brain Sciences Chair at the University of Minnesota. Georgopoulos came to the university in 1991.

“I’m tremendously honored to receive this award,” Georgopoulos said. “I could not have done this without you. We have studied 100s of veterans … in (VA’s) VISN 23 Network. Without them, we would not have any insight into the brain disorders or the mechanisms that are changing post-traumatic stress disorder, and especially Gulf War Illness.”

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said Georgopoulos is responsible for research involving PTSD, Gulf War Illness, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, alcohol abuse and other areas.

“I’m here with rays of hope for successful treating … of Gulf War Illness, a very complex and debilitating disease that affects the veterans that served in the Persian (Gulf),” Georgopoulos said.

The American Legion Distinguished Service Medal recognizes outstanding service to the nation and programs of The American Legion. Previous recipients include President George W. Bush, U.S. Army 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), Sen. Robert Dole and the Boys Scouts of America.