From: "\"Doc\" Bruce K. Melson" <>



Resolution No. 647











WHEREAS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as "Lou Gehrig’s

Disease," is a fatal neurological condition that destroys motor neurons, the

specialized brain and spinal cord nerve cells that control muscles; and


WHEREAS, while progression of the disease may vary, approximately 50 percent

of people with the disease die within three years of the first symptoms; and


WHEREAS, an estimated 30,000 Americans (less than one percent of the

population) suffer from this disease; and


WHEREAS, it typically appears in people between the ages of 50 and 70; and


WHEREAS, the average age of a Persian Gulf War veteran is 32 years; and


WHEREAS, estimates suggest that normal risk is less than one in one million

per year for a person in their 30s to contract ALS; and


WHEREAS, a recent study of veterans’ health records showed a higher than

normal incidence of ALS among Persian Gulf War veterans, with no present

research as to why; and


WHEREAS, that "normal incidence" is estimated at 27 veterans but there are

over 40 veterans with ALS symptoms enrolled in the VA’s "Epidemiological

Investigation into the Occurrence of Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis Among Gulf

War Veterans" currently being conducted at the Durham VA Medical Center; and


WHEREAS, Congress has historically solved such uncertainty by authorizing a

presumption of service connection in circumstances where a statistical

association indicates it is at least as likely as not that the disease is due

to military service; and


WHEREAS, as long as a question of a casual connection between service in the

Persia Gulf and ALS goes unresolved, the circumstances of a higher than usual

incidence of ALS in Persian Gulf War veterans warrant a presumption of

service connection; now, therefore


BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, that we

call for intensified medical and scientific research to determine the cause

of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis among Gulf War veterans and, in the interim,





Submitted by Commander-in-Chief




Resolution No. 647 - page 2 - continued






urge Congress to grant a temporary presumption of service connection for

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis for Persian Gulf War veterans until such time

as the research is complete.




"When the way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass through."

      I. Ching


 Bruce "Doc". Melson