Saturday, November 11, 2006

Gulf War Vets linked to higher incidence of Lou Gehrig's disease

Today (Veteran's day) a story came out on a series of studies which strongly hint that there is a correlation between Gulf War service (or service generally) and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

The risk of a Gulf War veteran developing Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) later on is 50% higher than for other people, say researchers from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), USA. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease, which is often fatal - the patient's nerve cells progressively breakdown, he/she loses muscle control, and eventually becomes paralyzed.

Four of five studies showed this correlation, while one did not. What can we do to support the veterans?

Here are three suggestions:

1. Don't let this story die. Push for a more definitive study to establish the parameters of the situation and figure out what can be done about it.

2. Support more funding for the Veteran's Administration, especially health care funding so that veterans who develop this disease or other diseases will have the resources available to fight it without going broke.

3. Support funding for stem cell research. ALS is one of the diseases that a number of researchers have said may some day be cured by treatments developed from stem cells.

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