Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis—also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease—is a degenerative disease of motor nerve cells. The disease gradually immobilizes its victims, eventually making it difficult to even swallow or breathe. Though 10% of people with ALS live more than 10 years, most will die within two to five years.Recent statistics show that veterans of the United States military are more vulnerable to ALS, with military service apparently doubling an individual’s chances of contracting the deadly disease. Despite years of intensive research into everything from military vaccinations to the long-term health impacts of head trauma, no one has been able to determine why.“It’s not clear why the military is twofold at risk,” said Dr. Lucie Bruijn, who serves as director of research at the District of Columbia’s ALS Association, an advocacy group that lobbies for research funding and ensuring that veterans with ALS have a presence in the nation’s capital. “The studies are still in progress. There’s nothing striking at this point.”
In 2008, the VA established a service-connection for ALS for any veteran with at least 90 days of continuous active military service. A year before that, the Defense Department started a research program with an average of $8 million in annual funding. The program has been preparing several new and promising therapies for the trial process.
Are you a veteran trying to obtain disability compensation from the VA? Learn more by talking to a dedicated Bellaire veterans’ attorney at Morgan & Weisbrod today. Contact us at 800-800-6353or fill out the online form.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.