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Gulfvet

Gulf War service and PD manifestation

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Dr. Okun,

As always thank you for your effects concerning PD, and your willingness to share your expertise on the matter.

I would like to ask your opinion on my thoughts concerning PD among GW veterans.

As per the IOM vol. 10, PD is an age related disease. We both know that PD typically manifest at or near the sixth decade of life, but earlier in some cases.

If I recall correctly, in a discussion i belief here on NPF, that everyone if they lived long enough, would eventually develop PD due to the natural progression of loss of dopamine producing neurons, with the natural aging process.

To me this indicates that even later in life PD manifestation is indicative of an aggravated beyond natural progression, loss of dopamine producing neurons.

This could be due to environmental exposures and or combined genetic susceptibility, but either way still aggravated beyond natural progression.

As the title of this post indicates, I highly belief that the neurotoxin exposures associated with GW service resulting in the neurobehavioral effects described in the IOM vol 2, GW health assessment starting at page 350, which includes not only the "cardinal symptoms" of PD, but almost all of the known PD symptoms as well, that PD and what is commonly known as Gulf War Illness is one and the same.

Recently the Solvents, TCE and or PCE, were highly associated with Parkinson's Disease, as per NAS and ASTDR conclusions. 

So as for the criteria set forth by the VA, in which any circumstances in which a disease is aggravated beyond natural progression, can be considered Service Connected.

Is it appropriate to conclude that any exposures, specifically proven or accepted as such, to target dopamine producing neurons, has aggravated beyond natural progression the loss of dopamine producing neurons.

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This is a tough question and doesn't really have a great answer.  I am not an expert on criteria for service connection for the VA but it never hurts to apply.

The most helpful thing is documentation of exposures.  If someone has an exposure to something that may increase the risk of later getting Parkinson's disease this will help the claim.

There are many environmental chemicals that may have a link.  Not clear on gulf war, but we all know the agent orange study and how long it took to materialize.

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Yes, a lot of hard to answer questions as per National Academy of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering,(NAS,) and the CDC, subcommittee, ASTDR,  The VA has in January of this year, agreed to the recommendations and created Presumptive Service Connection, for TCE exposure via Camp Lejeune water contamination. Just FYI.

 

I guess the biggest question would be if it is considered as estimated, 5-8% of the dopamine producing neurons within the basal ganglia, are believed to be lost per decade of life naturally. 

I believe it was somewhere here on NPF, that I once read, the analogy that everyone would eventually develop PD if they lived long enough due to the natural aging process. 

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We talk about the idea if everyone lived forever that by natural aging they may lose enough cells to eventually become parkinsonian...everyone may however need to live a very long time to lose enough cells and some people may still not actually get Parkinson....so it is complex and I would say a hypothesis that will be hard to prove.  Does that make sense?

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Military Dependents Get Exposed Too.

I'm a recent participant in the MJF worldwide study of PD medical histories but this post jarred my thought about what is not included in the questioning - exposures.

When one considers the numbers of military bases worldwide that have contaminated water supplies and/or exposures to uncontrolled chemical uses, it's surprising no one appears to be looking at "those who also served". A brief history for me includes DDT mosquito fogging (with diesel fuel vapor carrier-agent), fresh water supply obtained from aircraft runway runoff (yes, this was the fresh drinking water supply - all else was brackish well water), living in the downwind fallout area from nuclear weapons testing, etc. My sister died at 13 of Hodgkin's, brother is a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at 18. There are many others among those military but also dependents who have much more egregious exposures. In my only "civilian housing assignment" the entire family lived in the dusty strawberry farmlands being sprayed and dusted with methyl bromide (now replaced with even worse fumigant/pesticides).

Not surprisingly, there's not a real enthusiasm for lifting the lid off this. But in the catalogia of neuron killers, exposures have a claim to fame and could offer some hints on cures and prevention. If not, we need to learn how to grow replacement neurons using something more direct than exercise. And like Western Europe, we need to develop chemical-free growing methods. Soon! So in the research that continues onward, be sure to ask about these exposures and not only those to veterans.

rant mode<off>

Edited by fire1fl
typo

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There is definitely a growing body literature showing environmental exposures can contribute to the PD risk.

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