Veterans and MS

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Veterans and MS

Postby scoobyjude » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:40 pm

New Research To Examine Increased Risk of Multiple Sclerosis Among US Veterans 15 April 2007

Cases Suggest MS Could be Driven by Environmental Factors.
Emerging research has identified a possible increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) among Gulf War veterans. Data from the Department of Veterans Affairs MS Centres of Excellence and the Department of the Defense will help further investigate the link.

Of veterans with MS who were deployed in the Gulf War, more than 500 have been determined to be a service-connected by the VA. There are likely many unidentified cases. The results of this new study could show progress into the causes of MS, while unveiling another health risk for American veterans, in an environment of increasing concern about post-service care.

“These preliminary data suggest a potential link between military service in the Gulf War and an increased risk of developing MS. We could be one step closer to unlocking the environmental triggers of MS,” Mitch Wallin, MD, MPH, lead investigator on the study, said. “These results are important to the health care of our military veterans and all individuals living with MS. There is a critical need for further research.”

Dr. Wallin is Associate Professor of Neurology at Georgetown University School of Medicine and Associate Director of Clinical Care at the VA MS Center of Excellence-East in Baltimore.

Recent empirical evidence also shows an increase of MS right after the Gulf War among Kuwaitis. These data suggest that the cases of MS are, at least in part, being driven by environmental factors. Gulf War veterans who served in the combat theatre were exposed to a number of environmental agents including multiple vaccinations, viral and parasitic organisms, smoke from oil well fires, and more. Despite several decades of research, MS and its causes still are not fully understood, and there is no cure.

Overall federal funding for MS research has declined in recent years. However, Congress currently is looking at a possible $15 million appropriation into Department of Defense research that could help further explore the causes of MS.

Source: I am a MS Activist Blog
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Trans fats involvement?

Postby lyndacarol » Mon May 28, 2007 2:44 pm

Having just read Know Your Fats by Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., who was instrumental in establishing the recent federal requirement of trans fats on the Nutrition Panel of food products, I wonder how far-reaching these fabricated fats have gotten. Trans fats were created and used by industry to extend shelf life and avoid rancidity (not for the health benefit of the consumer!).

I suspect (but have no evidence) that the MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) supplied to military in the Gulf War and now in Iraq and Afghanistan would need a long shelf life and protection from rancidity; and, therefore, trans fats? Does anyone know if MREs have trans fats?

With Dr. Enig's info on the effects of trans fats, perhaps this accounts for veterans and MS.
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Postby Minai » Tue May 29, 2007 9:37 am

Can't help but think an infectious cause the most likely...Eg. Faroe Islands, WWII:

<shortened url>
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Postby SarahLonglands » Tue May 29, 2007 10:17 am

I'm with Minai here, especially since there was a rise amongst Kuwaitis as well, but would also add on a big dose of stress.
An Itinerary in Light and Shadow Completed Dr Charles Stratton / Dr David Wheldon abx regime for aggressive secondary progressive MS in June 2007, after four years. Still improving with no relapses since starting. Can't run but can paint all day.
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Postby gwa » Tue May 29, 2007 12:00 pm

The trans fats are a fat that is only a few decades old, so it would not have been around when MS was originally first documented. It is clogging arteries and muscle tissue leading to heart and vascular problems.

I always look at what was there then and what is here now when looking at causal factors for MS. The newfangled stuff people talk about is not a good cause and effect in my opinion.

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Postby MSresearcher » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:24 am

These are some great posts.

Another fact: Veterans diagnosed with MS within 7 years of the discharge date qualify for a "Service Connected" disability at least at the 30% level

Go to a VA Office to get the process going, it takes a while.

I personally did not serve in any combat zones and remained stateside. So in my case I can really point toward the vaccinations because that is the only unusual exposure I had contact with.
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Postby MSresearcher » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:33 am

I almost forgot, in addition to an overdose of stress and environmental exposure, I read somewhere possibly the NMSS magazine. That dehydration is also a factor in the breakdown of the BBB. Serving in that heat of the Middle East must also be a factor
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History of trans fatty acids

Postby lyndacarol » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:43 pm

To gwa's comment: "The trans fats are a fat that is only a few decades old, so it would not have been around when MS was originally first documented. It is clogging arteries and muscle tissue leading to heart and vascular problems."

Now I am reading Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus. On page 106 he writes, "...because partial hydrogenation has been used commercially on a large scale since the 1930s and now has a long tradition, and because the oil industry has powerful lobbies in government, hydrogenation is allowed to continue to supply unnatural fat products to our food."

Partial hydrogenation creates trans fats. I agree that the process was not in existence when MS was first diagnosed (1868, I believe--same year of golf's first recorded hole-in-one, I also heard); I only suggested that increased trans fats in food since 1930 might account for the increased prevalence of MS in the general population, and in veterans in particular, since that time.
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Postby Minai » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:17 pm

Quote from article, posted: "Gulf War veterans who served in the combat theatre were exposed to a number of environmental agents including multiple vaccinations, viral and parasitic organisms, smoke from oil well fires, and more. Despite several decades of research, MS and its causes still are not fully understood, and there is no cure."

Compared with the Foroe Island MS epidemic, WWII. Which of these do they have in common:

Multiple vaccinations? Yes. But not as many as Gulf War, or current war. Some infections can be caught from the disease being vaccinated for. And some caught by those who haven't been vaccinated, from those who have.

Viral and Parasitic organisms? Yes. Both soldiers and natives infected.

Smoke from oil well fires? No.

That's why I think an infectious cause most likely. GWA's right not to lose sight of the then and now(s). Wonder what the infection rate/epidemics will be like after the current war.

lyndacarol: Why not visit the Department of Defense's website to verify the premises upon which you are basing such questions, about veterans. There is a contact option there that can be used to request such info. They also have a search engine, but I wouldn't count on much coming up on a search for trans-fat. Or even on MRE ingredients. And, if you haven't already researched this; MREs began in the 80's. Before that it was canned SEARATs (sea rations). Best of luck in your quest for such info. :?:

Were the Faroes consuming trans fat? Were the Kuwaitiis? Most likely not.

MSresearcer: Thank you for your service, stateside or not! :!: My husband is currently a stateside(but has been on many prior deployments) rear detachment commander who, as I type this, must get up early to MOB many of his troops off to the latest surge. Can't help but wonder if any may someday need to know about the "Service Connected" disabilty benefit in the future. Sure hope not! But, if so, they will certainly need those, such as you, to help!

Yes, while the vaccines you've had could have played an infective role; so could have just working stateside with those who had/did serve(d). Such was the situation with those native Faroese, re: the URL I posted. And, for that matter, (also according to that URL) maybe I "caught" MS from my husband if he was/is a carrier of it. Don't know whether to :lol: or :cry:

No matter...I think I will just continue to smile!

--Minai :)
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Postby SarahLonglands » Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:06 am

Don't know whether to :lol: or :(


or get to bedzzzzzzzzzzzz. You haven't quite broken your record, but not far off! :wink:

Good luck to the troops who are being sent off today.
An Itinerary in Light and Shadow Completed Dr Charles Stratton / Dr David Wheldon abx regime for aggressive secondary progressive MS in June 2007, after four years. Still improving with no relapses since starting. Can't run but can paint all day.
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Postby Minai » Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:18 pm

Thanks, Sarah! And thanks from the troops, too :!: :!: :!:

lyndacarol: This one's for you on, CPn infection re: Cardiovascular disease and LDL/trans fat:

http://tinyurl.com/3yecs8

Also posted this in the ABX forum with a link, to a link, to the study's full dissertation.

--Minai :)
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Questions on C. pneumoniae

Postby lyndacarol » Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:48 am

Thanks for thinking of me, minai.

I read the short article, but not the full-length report yet. Maybe these questions are answered there.

First questions that come to mind: I thought I read somewhere that C. pneumoniae was difficult to test for. Has a new, reliable test been found? If not, how are they sure that 50% of Swedes have this before age 20?

If C.pn is the underlying cause, shouldn't LOTS of Swedes have it? What is the prevalence in Sweden? Other factors should be common to the population--genes, diet,etc. It might be a good clue.
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Postby SarahLonglands » Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:07 am

Lynda,

C. pneumoniae is difficult to test for, especially once it becomes a chronic infection. However, most twenty year olds who have it will have an acute infection. It is a ubiquitous pathogen, but it was only discovered to be a pathogen in 1987. Most of its life cycle it is intracellular and its most common disease when acute is a low level community acquired pneumonia.

The best test without doubt is the one developed at Vanderbilt University by Charles Stratton and William Mitchell. Unfortunately, due to lack of funds they have had to temporarily close the testing facility, but several places world wide now use their technique, including one not too far from me, at Warwick University science park: http://www.micropathology.net/

C Pn is a ubiquitous pathogen but many other things influence what people get what or if they are just able to kick off an initial infection. If you don't have the genetic predisposition, you won't get MS, for instance, even if you are vitamin D deficient. The further away from the equator you live, the more likely you are to be vitamin D deficient. The children of parents who immigrated from the Indian subcontinent have sometimes been found to have rickets because their skin colouring protects them from getting too much sun, but here it protects them too much, so they don't get adequate vit D from the sun but don't get enough in their diet. Rickets had been unknown in this country since the end of the nineteenth century.

Adults coming from India are far more likely to get MS now for the same reason. It is also more common in India itself because of change in lifestyle. Many no longer work long hours outside, but indoors, hidden from the sun. Being vegetarians by and large, it is easy to have a D deficient diet.

I, mainly Anglo Saxon, partly Jewish, developed MS when I was 24. My husband, of similar descent, developed cardio vascular problems in his forties. Being a hospital doctor specializing in microbiology he treated me when my disease became dangerously progressive and I have had no adverse MS event since starting, nearly four years ago. He then decided to treat himself when he was found to have a higher C Pn load than I registered. His blood pressure has now gone down from 150/90 to an average of 112/75 with an early morning pulse of 65.

Sarah
An Itinerary in Light and Shadow Completed Dr Charles Stratton / Dr David Wheldon abx regime for aggressive secondary progressive MS in June 2007, after four years. Still improving with no relapses since starting. Can't run but can paint all day.
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[b]Veterans' ills may show MS link to Gulf War[/b]

Postby tmcdaniel » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:52 am

Another article posted on Sunday, June 3, 2007


http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070603/NEWS01/706030481

Veterans' ills may show MS link to Gulf War
Possible connection is subject of studies, legislation

By Laura Ungar
lungar@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal


Bob Wolz blamed dehydration and the blazing sun for his mysterious blackouts during the first Gulf War.

But he had no idea what to think when his left arm and leg got weaker and thinner than his right limbs. The problems continued after he returned home, and last year, two years after retiring from the military, doctors diagnosed Wolz with multiple sclerosis -- which the Army veteran now considers a lingering wound from his first tour of duty.



"I was exposed to something," he said.

Wolz, of Rineyville, Ky., is among a growing number of Gulf War veterans who have developed the chronic neurological disease, suggesting a possible connection to toxic substances or other environmental triggers during wartime.

That possible link, hinted at in a couple of past studies, is the subject of new research, funding efforts and legislation. A Georgetown University doctor who identified more than 5,000 service-connected MS cases is now looking specifically at veterans of the Gulf War in 1991.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is pushing for $15 million in research funding for the Department of Defense. And a bill before Congress would help veterans with MS get disability benefits more easily.

Backing up such efforts is a study published in 2005 showing that MS among Kuwaitis more than doubled between 1993 and 2000.

So far, there are no firm statistics on the number of Gulf War veterans with MS. But Julie Mock of Washington state, president of an advocacy group called Veterans of Modern Warfare, said she knows of at least 600 nationwide and gets calls and e-mails from new sufferers every day.

"People are coming out of the woodwork," said Mock, a 40-year-old Gulf War veteran with MS.

Wolz, 42, is not surprised that other soldiers who served in the Gulf struggle with the illness. Looking back, he recalls several possible triggers, from anthrax vaccinations to chemical exposure. He was a decontamination specialist with a chemical unit, and was in Kuwait when the Iraqi oil wells burned, turning the sky so black he couldn't tell whether it was night or day.

Experts said studying veterans like Wolz could have wide implications for the 400,000 Americans with MS, which has no known cause. Dr. John Richert of the MS society echoed others, saying that finding an environmental trigger "would break new ground," pointing the way toward better treatments or even a cure.

MS takes its toll
On a recent morning, Wolz sat at the edge of the examining table at the Louisville Veterans Affairs Medical Center as Dr. Manjari Motaparthi checked the strength and feeling on both sides of his body.

She asked him to follow her finger with his eyes, lightly touched his cheeks, then pressed on his left leg and noted, "It's a little bit weak here."

"It hasn't gotten better," he told her. "It hasn't gotten worse, either … well, maybe a little bit."

Over the years, MS has taken its toll. In addition to losing muscle tissue, Wolz can't stand the heat, is prone to falls and has memory problems that he copes with by writing notes to himself.

Wolz said he hasn't had trouble getting military benefits for his disability, as some vets have. But getting diagnosed wasn't easy, he said. None of the doctors he visited at military bases and in war zones found any serious problems.

Then, after Wolz retired from the Army in 2004, his family doctor in Elizabethtown told him he might have suffered a small stroke. He was referred to a physical therapist at the VA, who disagreed and suggested more tests.

A scan confirmed MS, which occurs when a fatty tissue that helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses -- called myelin -- is lost. Wolz had the most common type, relapsing-remitting, which is characterized by flare-ups and recoveries.

The main treatment, giving himself shots of interferon beta-1 three times a week, has proved difficult. "It took 45 minutes before I could even do it the first time," said Wolz, who is now working as a military analyst. "I do not like needles."

Dr. Stephen Kirzinger, medical director of the University of Louisville's MS Care Center program, said he is intrigued by the research exploring the connection between MS and the Gulf War, since he has treated several veterans at his local clinics.

MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease related at least partly to genetics, and is more common among women and people who spent their mid-teenage years in northern climates. While researchers have long suspected a trigger, they have mostly considered infectious agents such as viruses.

But the Georgetown study, led by Dr. Mitchell T. Wallin and published in the Annals of Neurology in 2003, said the higher-than-normal MS rates found among veterans who served from 1960 to 1994 "strongly imply a primary environmental factor in the cause or precipitation of this disease."

Other studies, which looked more generally at the collection of problems dubbed "Gulf War Syndrome," mention the possible dangers of oil-well smoke, vaccines and sarin from the destruction of weapons. Army Times reported last month that researchers at Boston University have all but determined exposure to sarin gas in 1991 is the cause of Gulf War Syndrome.

Mock said she thinks scientists will find a link because the anecdotal evidence is undeniable. Among a detachment of 60 people who served with her in southern Iraq, she said, "there were three of us within 100 feet of each other" who now have MS.

Benefits and research
As research continues, so do efforts to help these veterans.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., reintroduced a bill in March to help them qualify for VA disability benefits. The legislation would remove a seven-year limit veterans now face for connecting their MS to military service after an honorable discharge. The bill would also ensure the condition is presumed to be caused by military service if diagnosed later.

Congress is also expected to decide by August about giving the Defense Department the $15 million in federal research funding. Shawn O'Neail, associate vice president of federal government relations for the MS society, said the money would go to the department's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, which would distribute it using a peer-reviewed application process "with a preference given to combat service" studies.

"It's definitely something that needs to be researched further," O'Neail said. "Whatever the benefits of the research are, they could be applied to everyone with MS."

Meanwhile, Wolz continues his personal battle. Motaparthi called his prognosis "favorable" and said he may be able to keep the disease at current levels if the injections continue working.

Nothing is assured, however; half the people with his type of MS go on to develop another type in which the disease steadily gets worse.

Wolz's wife, Linda, said although her husband is dealing well with the disease, it has changed family dynamics. Their children are gentler toward her husband, she said, more like parents.

"I get worried when he's here alone," said daughter Bianca, 16. "I don't want him to fall."

Wolz tries not to dwell on the possibility that he may someday need a wheelchair to get around safely, or that MS will compromise his future.

"If I focus on that, I can't focus on fighting it," he said. "I have too many things I want to do in life."

Reporter Laura Ungar can be reached at (502) 582-7190.
[url][/url][/quote]
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Postby Minai » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:17 pm

Hi tmcdaniel and Welcome!

Thanks for posting this! For me, it equates with further illustration of infectious causation, shared by troops and the indigenous population of Kuwait. Then = Faroese, Now = Kuwaitis (re. my previous posts)


LyndaCarol: Am glad that Sarah answered your questions, providing even more valuable information, not even covered in that dissertation! Am still reading it, myself. It is 100 pages long. But so far, do not see any stats for CPn infection rates of their general population. But, there are dozens and dozens of footnotes in it, that likely reference such.

--Minai :)
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