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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig's disease is a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes breakdown of nerve cells that control the muscles. The disease is so progressive that it eventually results in paralysis and death.

The cause of the disease hasn’t been found. Genetics account for 5% to 10 % of the risk while the other 90%-95% are unknown. It is suspected that environmental conditions may have a role too.

The latest studies have linked ALS to military service. The connection is statistically strong but there haven’t been many studies to back it up.
Five studies were done, three of them among Gulf War veterans, and they showed that the chance of veterans developing ALS was two times higher than for the general population, or for veterans who didn’t participate in that war. Military service before the Gulf War was associated with a 1.5-fold increased risk of developing ALS. The last study showed no connection between military service and ALS.

To determine if there really is a link and to find which factors related to military are exactly increasing the risks, more high quality studies are needed. It is essential to see if it were increased exposure to toxic chemicals, involvement in traumatic events, intensive physical activity or other experiences soldiers encounter that could be contributing to ALS development.

For the time being, veterans of the Gulf War get disability compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, other veterans do not. This is another reason why the connections should be thoroughly investigated.


Check out the video (copy and paste the link below) for more information on the ALS/military connection. We owe it to our veterans to find a cure. They fought for us, now it's our turn to fight for them!