Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Residue of War

When I filed my disability claim with the VA several years ago, I felt sure that my genetic illnesses stemmed from my exposure to ionizing radiation in the underground nuclear testing. In time I found that chemical exposures, such as Agent Orange, were also linked to genetic mutation. My best friend in Vietnam, who served next to me every day, now has full disability due to a blood disease caused by Agent Orange. 
Although the following, written January 23, 2007, is primarily about radiation, ongoing genetic research in the past three years, is making a stronger case for both radiation and Agent Orange as causes of many diseases.
(Go to the bottom for photo description.)
Research funding needed to find a cure for PKD
You've noticed that one of my links is the PKD Foundation, and, if you don't already know, I have this genetic disease. It doesn't run in my family, but I feel sure that PKD and my other four genetic diseases are due to spontaneous mutation caused by exposure to radiation, while I was an Army photographer for the underground nuclear detonations at Nevada Test Site.

The PKD Foundation is working to find a cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease.

PKD added to Research Program in 2006

For the first time in FY2006, PKD was added as a research candidate in the Department of Defense Peer-Review Medical Research Program. Now PKD patients, such as I, are anxious to have that funding in the next appropriation, FY2008, which will begin next October.

In FY 2006, the program was funded at $50 million for disease specific research focused on conditions like PKD, cancer, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis and several other illnesses.

Why the DOD is concerned about PKD

Why should the Defense Department worry about PKD? Thousands of active duty military and civilian personnel may have the disease, based on a 1 and 500 prevalence rate of PKD. Most individuals enter military service in their teens or early 20s. The military will not realize the full service potential of these individuals before the full effects of PKD are apparent and they develop End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD or kidney failure), which will lead to costly transplants or dialysis.

To cure PKD would result in the saving of billions of dollars in to the military, Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration for dialysis, transplantation and related treatments.

Incredible scientific progress has been made in PKD research over the past 12 years, a significant part of it because of research funding from the federal government. 

While PKD was included in the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program for FY 2006, there are no guarantees about FY 2008. 

If you know someone with PKD, call your Congressman and urge them to support the research again in 2010

Help keep this funding source available for future research efforts. Please e-mail, call, or write Senator Saxby Chambliss, Senator Johnny Isakson, and your Congressman. John Barrow represents the 12th district which includes Toombs, Emanuel, Johnson, Montgomery and Treutlen Counties. Jim Marshall represents the 8th district which includes Laurens County. Jack Kingston, a member of the appropriations committee, represents Wheeler County, Telfair, and Jeff Davis.

Thank you very much.

(Photo: The white "butterbean" is a normal human kidney, about the size of a fist. The other object is a human kidney with Polycystic Kidney Disease.)
William A. Ricks 
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