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More Vets Get Drastic Disease

It has been reported that more Gulf War Vets got Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), which gradually leads to complete paralysis, than the general public. Those soldiers blamed it on bioterrorism from Saddam, while current soldiers in Iraq fear they may get it from the vaccinations they're forced to take, which are often not yet approved for the general public. Now it's been discovered that not just Gulf War Vets, but ALL Vets are more likely to get the disease.

Helen Phillips writes in New Scientist that public health researcher Marc Weisskopf found that soldiers who served in either the first or second world wars, the Korean war or the Vietnam war are 60% more likely to develop ALS, and those who served in several wars are twice as likely to get it. The risk is the same for soldiers in the army, navy, air force or national guard.

Since soldiers were not exposed to chemical weapons in all of those conflicts, the cause may be chemicals used by our own military. It could also be caused by trauma, stress, infection, exposure to lead in bullets or extreme physical exercise. Any increase in the incidence of ALS will be noticed, because the disease is very rare. About 10% of the cases are inherited. Neurobiologist Jasper Daube says, "I am very interested and excited by any study that helps sort the cause out."

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