Saturday, July 24, 2010

Genetics - What Jim Webb Doesn't Know

This article pertains mainly to Vietnam Veterans, but it's okay for others to read it. I posted it on my blog August 29, 2007, and it was one of my most popular posts back then.
Considering Senator Jim Webb's attempt to delay veterans getting what's due them, the information needs posting again:

What a mouthful!

We won't address all of it in this post, but we might get around to it one day.

A written note (Post-it) on a page of my VA disability claim reads "Polycystic Kidney Disease is hereditary".

The statement is only partly true. Read the following two paragraphs from the PKD Foundation:

How does PKD spread?
Because PKD is an inherited disorder, the dominant form of the disease (ADPKD) is passed from one generation to the next by an affected parent. Each child of an ADPKD parent has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease. Scientists have also discovered that approximately 10% of the PKD patient community became affected through spontaneous mutation, and not through inheritance. ADPKD equally affects men and women, regardless of age, race, or ethnic origin.

In ADPKD there is also approximately a 10 percent rate of spontaneous mutation. This means that instead of inheriting the ADPKD gene from a parent with the disease, the gene mutates by itself for no known
reason. It is important to know that even with a true spontaneous mutation, a newly affected person will still pass the mutated gene on to his/her children.

Say it again! 10% of the PKD patient community became affected through
spontaneous mutation, and not through inheritance.

None of my relatives have ever had kidney disease (of any kind). (One has kidney trouble now (2010) but it's not PKD.)

Read two more paragraphs from PKD.CURE:

What are the symptoms of PKD?
Early in the disease there generally are no symptoms at all. In fact, many people are never diagnosed with ADPKD because they have so few or no symptoms. Often the first sign of ADPKD is high blood pressure,
blood in the urine or a feeling of heaviness/pain in the back, sides or abdomen. Sometimes the first sign is urinary tract infection and/or kidney stones.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about 60 percent to 70 percent of people with ADPKD. High blood pressure begins early in the course of ADPKD. In ADPKD it seems that the most likely reason for
high blood pressure is the constricting of blood vessels. In ADPKD, cysts can press on blood vessels in the kidney, resulting in decreased blood flow to some parts of the kidney. Sensors in the nephron react
as though the blood pressure in the kidney was low; renin is then secreted, which in turn generates angiotensin, constricting the blood vessels, and causing high blood pressure. If not treated, hypertension
damages the kidneys, enlarges the heart and can cause strokes.

High blood pressure was present in me before I learned that I also had PKD. PKD either caused or contributed to my various cardovascular problems - heart attack, triple bypass, strokes, headaches, dizziness, low ejection rate, blood clots, and more.

To read the entire Q&A, use the URL below

Environmental conditions can cause spontaneous mutation.
Some veterans are submitting claims based on Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. Others' claims are based on exposure to ionizing radiation. My claim is based on both.

Pressure is mounting to include cardiovascular diseases as presumptiveforAgent Orange.
Read the paragraph below:

Data Suggest A Possible Association Between Agent Orange Exposure And Hypertension, But The Evidence Is Limited, USA
A new report from the Institute of Medicine finds suggestive but limited evidence that exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War is associated with an increased chance of
developing high blood pressure in some veterans...
To read the full article, please go to:

Many types of cancer are already presumptive with Agent Orange or Ionizing Radiation. Since cancers are genetic and other diseases, such as PKD, are genetic, why does the VA handle them differently. As far as I've been able to determine from internet articles is that the VA requested that studies be done on the cancers, but they did not ask for studies on other genetic diseases.
Since my article, medical science has had another three years to study the relationship.  During this time veterans have been denied acceptance of their service-connected claims.  The bulk of the$13 billion dollars allotted for the three new presumptive illnesses will go to Vietnam Veterans who have been denied their claims for a long time.  New claims will cost just a fraction of the total.
I expect that after the Agent Orange matter is resolved in favor of the Vietnam Veteran, the VA will recommend the same for those exposed to radiation.  In my capacity as a life member of the National Association of Atomic Veterans, I talked with a veteran from a distant state this week about his radiation exposure on a naval vessel. 
Regardless of who he is or who appointed him, the Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs seems to have the same caring attitude as I have experienced from doctors, nurses, and all employees at the Carl Vinson VAMC in Dublin.

William A. Ricks 
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