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Subject: Ms And The Military

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allan

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Sent: Friday, January 02, 2004 2:25 PM

Subject: MS and the Military

http://www.sonomacountyfreepress.com/react...oodsoldier.html

"If, as some believe, the causative agent is a

mycoplasma, vaccinations could conceivably be the mode of

transmission."

April 18, 2000

REACTIONS OF A KINDLY NATURE

by Ed Gherman egehrman@p...

A Good Soldier

Questions about VA Disability and Multiple Sclerosis

He fell suddenly, not a hundred feet from my moving car. It was a

solid,

bone breaking tumble and I was surprised when he got to his feet,

brushed

himself off and resumed walking hesitantly toward a car parked next

to the

curb from which he'd just fallen. I drove slowly alongside, then

braked and

asked if he were all right. He smiled when he saw me; I recognized

him as

one of my daughter's friends, Sam. I had known him for over ten

years. We'd

met just after his return from an enlistment with Army Rangers. It

had come

as a shock to all of us when we learned he had Multiple Sclerosis.

He'd

gone to a doctor because of numbness in his leg and blurred vision

and

after extended testing, was diagnosed with the disease.

Over the years I'd hear bits and pieces of Sam's progress from my

daughter.

After I witnessed his fall, I asked her for an update and she told

me that

he'd had some problems walking and that he was using a cane most of

the

time. I asked her what he was doing for money and she said that he

was

getting paid by the Army, full disability and all medical benefits.

I was

dumbfounded and told her that she must be wrong and would she check

as soon

as possible. She did and confirmed that he was indeed receiving full

benefits and that MS was considered a service connected disability.

I found this so hard to believe that I contacted Sam myself and he

agreed

to an interview. He confirmed that he was on disability. He said

that the

VA will grant disability status if the condition becomes apparent to

a

degree of ten percent or more within seven years from the date of a

veteran's separation from the service. Sam didn't realize he was

eligible

for these benefits until a friend, an ex-serviceman, told him, three

years

after his initial diagnosis. The VA confirmed Sam's disability and

service

connection.

I'm glad that Sam's needs are being met by the VA. He was a good

soldier.

But it's difficult, if not impossible to understand the VA's

reasoning and

justification for granting disability status and a service

connection for

MS. There is no know cause for MS. If the cause is unknown, how can a

connection be made between a person's stay in the service and MS? It

doesn't make sense. A service-connected disability can be granted

for any

condition which is incurred or aggravated by a veteran's military

service.

The big questions are: What is it in the service environment that

causes

folks to become susceptible to MS and how did the VA make a

connection

between this environmental factor, service in the armed forces, and

Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous

system. Myelin, which facilitates the high speed transmission of

electrochemical impulses between the brain and the spinal cord,

becomes

scarred and hardened into what are known as plaques. These multiple

plaques

damage the myelin and cause the neurological transmissions to be

slowed or

blocked completely which leads to diminished and, sometimes, lost

functioning. The symptoms, severity and duration of MS varies from

person

to person. Most patients experience muscle weakness and loss of

muscular

control, fatigue, vision problems and cognitive impairments such as

poor

memory and concentration. Other symptoms include pain, tremor,

vertigo,

bladder and bowel dysfunction, depression and euphoria.

There are 350,000 Americans who have MS and about two hundred new

cases are

diagnosed each week. Most folks experience their first symptoms

between the

age of twenty and forty, rarely before fifteen and seldom after

sixty.

Caucasians are more than twice as likely to contract MS than other

races;

MS is five times more prevalent in temperate climates than in

tropical.

There does seem to be a genetic relationship or connection between

those

who are susceptible to MS. In the population at large, a person has a

one-tenth of one percent chance of contracting MS but if one person

in a

family has MS then the other family members have a three percent

chance of

getting it also.

The cause for MS is not known. Some think it's an auto immune

disease that

launches an attack on its own tissues. While this is certainly a

clear

possibility, nothing conclusive has ever been established. One

plausible

theory is that the causative agent could be a unique microorganism

such as

a mycoplasma. These poorly understood organisms are able to alter

protein,

and then sensitize the host against itself. For example it was found

that

mycoplasmas can cause the formation of the rheumatoid factor. A

similar

mechanism could apply to Lupus and many other auto immune disorders.

Another interesting factor is that females, who are infected four

times

more frequently with mycoplasmas than males, are twice as likely to

contract MS.

But this is all only speculation because the truth is we simply

don't know

what causes MS. Then how did the VA decide that MS was connected to a

person's stay in the Armed Forces? I wrote the Department Of Defense,

through Barbara Boxer's office, and they refused to answer any

questions. I

also contacted the Veterans Administration. They did confirm that MS

was a

service connected disability and answered some of my inquiries. They

seemed

puzzled that I was skeptical of the MS disability designation and

informed

me that "congressional legislation would be required to change these

provisions of the law".

There are currently about eleven thousand veterans who have been

granted a

service connected disability for MS. The only condition is that the

disease

be confirmed within seven years of a veteran's separation from

service. As

any one familiar with the labyrinthian process of obtaining a service

related disability can attest, it isn't easy getting money from the

VA. The

problems surrounding "Gulf War Illness" is a certain reminder of

this fact

The VA and the Department Of Defense must possess information that

they're

not sharing with the rest of us and certainly not with the new

enlistees. I

know the Sergeant isn't telling new recruits that they should look

out for

MS, as they do with AIDS or syphilis. If there is a chance that MS

might be

contracted or complicated by their time in military service, then why

aren't enlistees told this? Would this complicate the recruitment

process?

Probably, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it would complicate

something far more important to the modern Armed Forces:

vaccinations. This

is the one factor, aside from the traditional haircut, that all

service

folks have in common. If, as some believe, the causative agent is a

mycoplasma, vaccinations could conceivably be the mode of

transmission.

What bothers me most is that I'm sure the VA and the DOD have

research that

justifies granting this disability to thousands of veterans. If they

have

information that connects MS to military service, then we should all

know

what that information is. Multiple Sclerosis is a serious and growing

disorder that afflicts millions of persons. To purposefully withhold

information that would better our understanding of this disease is

unjustified.******

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Ed Gherman is a jerk. He should be thrilled that his daughters friend is being helped by the VA. So may are not. Its also interesting that the good soldier found out he may qualify for VA benefits not from the VA but another Veteran. This story says a lot about VA outreach.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

This is a prime example of how liberal VA laws and regulation are towards the veteran. Service-connection can be granted for numerous conditions as long as it is shown to have manifested itself during active military service or within the prescribed presumtive periods, regardless if one's military service actually caused such a condition.

The general population is actually unaware of the liberlizing regulations and then some make make comments such as Mr. Gherman's

"But it's difficult, if not impossible to understand the VA's reasoning and justification for granting disability status and a service connection for MS."

This guy is just an ignorant ass!

Vike 17

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Pete/Vike,

I read that this guy thinks that if the VA is granting claims for MS, that they have a reason to do so. Not that he has a gripe about the vet getting the benefit.

If, as some believe, the causative agent is a

mycoplasma, vaccinations could conceivably be the mode of

transmission.

What bothers me most is that I'm sure the VA and the DOD have

research that justifies granting this disability to thousands of veterans.

If they have information that connects MS to military service, then we should all know what that information is.

Multiple Sclerosis is a serious and growing

disorder that afflicts millions of persons. To purposefully withhold

information that would better our understanding of this disease is

unjustified.******

The question is, is there a connection between the vaccinations military personel are given & Multiple Sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders of unknown causes, etc? If so, & the DOD is aware this takes place & why, they should share this information.

Maybe you know this guy or something. Not sure why you think he's a jerk.

I often take things out of context, so If I missed something here, could you point it out?

Allan

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