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Link Shown Between Military Service And Risk For ALS

f the US population who have been affected by the disease.

Johnson thinks that, while the connection is statistically significant, the study findings need to be replicated. 'The question is, if it's true, then why does military service increase your risk?'

'The question is, if it's true, then why does military service increase your risk?' says Dr Johnson who thinks that there is statistical proof.

Researchers say that the connection needs to be further studied. The cause for ALS among veterans also needs to be further analyzed, whether it was proximity to toxic chemicals, or traumatic events or the exhaustive physical activity or any other experience which soldiers encounter.

According to Johnson veterans need not be overly concerned about their risk for ALS. 'The risk is so small that's it's not something that one worries about,' he said.

Lucie Bruijn, the science director of the ALS Association said, 'This was important to review and was not unexpected to me in terms of findings. Although there is limited evidence, it is very suggestive, and I think that the recommendations for further studies are very important.'

Bruijn said that genetics account for 5 percent to 10 percent of the risk for ALS. She said, 'Ninety percent of ALS is sporadic. So there is no real known cause.'

However, Bruijn does think that there are environmental conditions that can trigger genetic susceptibility. She said, 'We all believe, in the scientific community, it's the combination of the environment and genes. In this instance [among the military], the same is going on. There is genetic susceptibility plus environmental exposure that puts them in this position.'

Currently, veterans of the Gulf War get disability compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs if they develop ALS, but other veterans do not.

'Congress needs to continue to fund research in this area,' said Steve Gibson, the ALS A
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