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Neuropathy Articles REVISED as of SEPT 10, 2007:

 

Please send a copy of the summary and a copy of the full articles to their representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives all over the country.  Email me for the full articles as a word document.

 

 The article #VA 3 Part 1 “Veterans Affairs Contract Neurologist Unknowingly Reconfirms the Effectiveness of Gamma Globulin IV for the Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy” has been sent to IG Living and hopefully they will publish the summary in their next issue.  IG stands for the immune globulin that many with a chronic neuropathy receive for their condition.   You will be able to get a free subscription to this magazine, if you have a neuropathy or are family or a care giver of someone who does.  Go on their web site at www.igliving.com and sign up!

 

The summaries and articles will be sent out to all the Veterans organizations and news papers etc….

 

The following summaries of six articles were written for the Neuropathy Association Newsletter with a focus on Veterans.  It is hoped that in the near future the full articles will be posted on a web site.  Meanwhile copies of the full articles which contain reference material may be requested by send an e mail to prcgene@aol.com.   Please put the words “VA Articles” or “Neuropathy Articles” in the subject line.

 

 

 

 

“Disability and the Veterans Administration” published 2007 by LtCol Eugene B. Richardson USA Retired, (Article #VA 1)

 

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”  General George Washington, as quoted in the Purple Heart Magazine, July/August 2007. 

 

In his full article Col Richardson illustrates his own personal 2006, shocking and sad discovery of the horrendous practices of the Veterans Affairs Administration in processing the applications of Veterans for assistance.  

 

Describing his 38 year journey with an undiagnosed and untreated chronic polyneuropathy, with symptoms fully detailed in his medical records since 1969, he clearly shows the “tricks”, mediocre reviews and high level of intellectual dishonesty and shameless medical incompetence used to deny Veterans.  Following his “miracle” in April 2004, when gamma globulin treatments were begun with positive results, in 2006 the VA doctor used the Veterans partial improvements of symptoms to deny his diagnosis!  

 

He concludes by recommending several changes that must be made within the VA, if the real problems are to be addressed.  These include (1) Stop the practice of using non board certified retired Neurologists or other unqualified specialists.  (2)  Be required to evaluate Veterans with a chronic neuropathy using board certified neuromuscular neurologists with training in the peripheral neuropathies.  (3)  Cease the practice of discounting the decisions of the Social Security Administration and other disability carriers on a known documented disability.  (4)  Cease the practice of discounting the diagnosis of Board Certified Neurologists especially when three of them agree on the diagnosis.  (5)  Stop VA reviewers from misusing and misrepresenting the medical record data in the Veterans medical records.  (6)  Require the VA reviewers to conduct a honest intelligent sound scientific evaluation of the Veterans application without using the pick and choose method, without using a medically ruled out misdiagnose, without  inventing false claims regarding the contents of private doctors records, without falsely claiming that a diagnosis is not in the Veterans medical record when it is clearly recorded, without having the examining neurologist review the file by measuring the thickness of the medical record with his fingers, then claiming he reviewed it with the Veteran, and without the demeaning attitude toward the Veteran.  (7)  Require the elected leaders fund the federal budget providing the resources necessary to fund all the legitimate disability claims of Veterans making these dirty legal tricks to bury them unnecessary.  

 

Until now elected leaders have only thrown money at the indicators of a problem, (i.e. hire more reviewers to abuse more Veterans in a faster time frame), without solving the problems. These changes are a matter of national security as the VA continues its practice of adding to the currently buried 600,000 claim appeals in a shameless process that does not serve our country or our Veterans. 

 

There is a glimmer of future hope for Veterans with a disabling chronic neuropathy or many other invisible illnesses, but for any changes in the VA approach to Neuropathy and these illnesses and the VA disability system, the jury is still out.  The jury has been depressed, ignored and suppressed for many decades, for the jury is the Veterans it abuses.  Our Veterans with these illnesses deserve better treatment by the nation they have served at the risk of their very lives and bodies.

 

 

 

  ARTICLES:

 

“Peripheral Neuropathy, Disability and the Veterans Administration” (Article #VA 2 Part 1) and “Peripheral Neuropathy and the Veterans Administration” published 2007 by LtCol Eugene B. Richardson USA Retired (Article #VA 2a)

 

The full articles continue the theme of the problem plagued VA disability system with a focus on the Peripheral Neuropathies and the shameless manner in which the VA evaluates the chronic neuropathies even in 2006.  Using unqualified retired non practicing doctors who are not board certified in Neurology, this practice assists the VA in burying claims of these Veterans suffering from the chronic neuropathies.  In this article he sets aside any claim of any connection to the toxins of the Vietnam War, while Col Richardson shows how even with 38 years of extensive medical record documentation, the VA’s process of delay, denial until death is still alive and well.   His symptoms of chronic peripheral autonomic neuropathy and a chronic immune mediated polyneuropathy beginning in 1969 are documented throughout his active service and private medical records.  These 38 years of symptoms are firmly connected to his diagnosed chronic neuropathy by his treatment, and yet the VA manages to dismiss the diagnosis, ignoring his treatment with gamma globulin by private physicians, burying his appeal under the 600,000 backlog.

 

The federal governments’ recent toss of more money to hire more VA reviewers only adds to the indicator of the real problems, as did the executive branch demand that initial claims be processed within 60 days.    Irresponsible reviews by 10 are only increased by the irresponsible reviews by 100 reviewers rushed in 60 days.  The result of this new funding and time limits will be to bury more applications in the appeals process in a system designed to fail the Veteran and our national security. 

 

 

 

 

 “The Chemicals of the Vietnam War and the Toxic Neuropathies: The Connection” published 2007 by LtCol Eugene B. Richardson USA Retired (Article #VA 3 Part 2) 

 

The thesis for the full article is that the connection between the chemicals of the Vietnam War and the chronic peripheral neuropathies is in the flawed uncontrolled research samples and the acknowledged rampant failures, throughout the medical establishment, to diagnosis the chronic neuropathies over the past three decades.  

 

Quoting the work of Dr. R.W. Trewyn, PhD who testified to a subcommittee of the House of Representatives on March 15, 2000, Dr. Trewyn noted the major scientific flaws in all the data used by the National Academy of Science (NAS) in 1993.  The NAS denial of connection between the toxins of Vietnam for the chronic neuropathies was then used by the VA to deny assistance for the Veterans of Vietnam who suffer from these horrendous conditions. 

 

Col Richardson continues by quoting many major works and experts of neurology on the many acknowledged failures and difficulties in diagnosing the chronic neuropathies.  He notes that for decades there were no generally accepted criteria for diagnosis of the chronic neuropathies with many atypical symptoms that were missed.  The medical profession all too often fails to even consider a neurological problem when looking at symptoms of the peripheral autonomic nervous system.  He uses his own 34 years of medical failures to diagnose or treat his own chronic neuropathy to illustrate the problems. 

 

Therefore the data on the chronic neuropathies within the control groups and in Veterans of the Vietnam War was just not available to the National Academy of Science in 1993.  The NAS scientists showed their clear medical bias against taking seriously the peripheral neuropathies, when the NAS using the same flawed data to recognize approved visible medical conditions as connected to the toxins of Vietnam.  This was done even with substantial evidence of links to the sub acute neuropathies; terms that are related to onset and progression, and that are not clearly diagnostic but rather observations in retrospect about onset and progression and are not set in stone anywhere.  The atypical variables abound in medical literature.  He concludes with the 2007 Associated Press story by Ben Stocking of seven year old Nguyen Thi Kieu Nhung who suffers from symptoms of a chronic neuropathy in Da Nang, Vietnam from the high levels of dioxin found in the soil, water and fish decades after the War.  In 2000 Col Richardson suffered from the same symptoms of severely painful skin.  Yet the NAS claim remains that there is no connection and the toxin is not stored in our bodies and if it is it would not be helpful to measure it in Veterans!   

 

However in 2007 our government is able to conduct blood tests in people in Vietnam confirming elevated dioxin levels in people who fished or harvested lotus flowers from a contaminated lake on the site. Now it is important that we measure it in the Vietnamese people, including their fish, water, and soil.  By why was it never important to measure it in Veterans of the War?  Why were these levels not measured in Vietnam Veterans after the war or even during the war, when dioxin was known to be a toxin?  Perhaps we should ask the U.S. scientists who are working on the clean up of the Da Nang site how important this would have been to Veterans.  These test in spring 2007, were done by Dr. Thomas Bolvin, with the soil tests being conducted by his firm, Hatfield Consultants of Canada.   The U.S. has paid $400,000 for the engineering study of how to clean up the site!  And by the way, the article notes that in the spirit of new growing relationship with Vietnam, the U.S. Congress recently set aside $3 million to address dioxin contamination in Da Nang Vietnam and the U.S. Ambassador Michael Marine said some of it could be used to help to pay for a cleanup.   Mr. Bolvin said, the U.S. should take the lead.  “There is a real need for the U.S. to step up to the plate here and fund the cleanup of these sites.”  

 

When will Congress step up to the plate and help the Veteran of the Vietnam War who suffers from the chronic neuropathies from these same toxins that were dumped on Veterans, on the plants and ground they slept on, spread into the air by the burning of waste in the empty barrows, in the water we drank, on the clothing we touched, and heaven only knows how else it came to us.   

 

The top agent for the Vietnam government on Agent Orange, Mr. Le Ke Son, says, “We have asked the American side to be more active, not just in doing research into the effects of Agent Orange but in overcoming its consequences.”  He continued, “Until we resolve this issue, we can’t really say that we have truly normalized relations.”  Until our government steps up to the plate for Vietnam Veterans with the chronic neuropathies, we also can say there is no normalization of relations with the Veterans who served this great country, only suffering along side seven year old, Nguyen Thi Kieu Nhung of Da Nang Vietnam.

 

For Veterans of Vietnam who suffer from these horrible conditions without acknowledgement, support, or affirmation, you are the trail blazers in this fight against these chronic neurological illnesses.  Although something we would never have chosen, it is the price many Vietnam Veterans continue to pay as we continue to serve our great country and our constitutional republic.  You are the heroes and the courageous, held in the prison of strange undiagnosed and untreated symptoms and unbelievable pain that would create an unimaginable outcry if used against prisoners of the current conflict.  We have no choice but to stand up against the limits of medicine or powerful bureaucratic forces armed with flawed data, bias, and charts.  You served our country, they fail our country, while living in the safe harbor of governmental assumed absolute power or in the unreal world of theory within institutions of higher learning or intellectual ignorance of a body far more complex and wonderful than they could ever imagine in the halls of higher education or government. 

 

 

 

  

“The National Academy of Science Right for the Wrong Reasons: The Chemicals of the Vietnam War and the Toxic Neuropathies” published 2007 by LtCol Eugene B. Richardson USA Retired (Article #VA 3 Part 3)

 

The thesis for the full article is that in 1993, the National Academy of Science (NAS) reached the right conclusion, but for the wrong reasons, in their failure to support a connection between the toxins of the Vietnam War and the chronic peripheral neuropathies.  

 

Quoting the work of Dr. R.W. Trewyn, PhD who testified to a subcommittee of the House of Representatives on March 15, 2000, Dr. Trewyn noted the major scientific flaws in all the data used by the National Academy of Science (NAS) in 1993.  The NAS denial of connection between the toxins of Vietnam for the chronic neuropathies was then used by the VA to deny assistance for the Veterans of Vietnam who suffer from these horrendous conditions.

 

Col Richardson continues by quoting many major works and experts of neurology on the many acknowledged failures and difficulties in diagnosing the chronic neuropathies.  He notes that for decades there were no generally accepted criteria for diagnosis of the chronic neuropathies with many atypical symptoms that were missed.  The medical profession all too often fails to even consider a neurological problem when looking at symptoms of the peripheral autonomic nervous system.  He uses his own 34 years of medical failures to diagnose or treat his own chronic neuropathy to illustrate the problems. 

 

Therefore the data on the chronic neuropathies within the control groups and in Veterans of the Vietnam War was just not available to the National Academy of Science in 1993.  The NAS scientists showed their clear medical bias against taking seriously the peripheral neuropathies, when the NAS using the same flawed data to recognize approved visible medical conditions as connected to the toxins of Vietnam.  This was done even with substantial evidence of links to the sub acute neuropathies; terms that are related to onset and progression, and that are not clearly diagnostic but rather observations in retrospect about onset and progression and are not set in stone anywhere.  The atypical variables abound in medical literature.

 

It is time for the NAS to go back to the drawing board and reconsider the abuse they have unintentionally heaped on our Veterans who suffer from these chronic toxic neuropathies from the chemicals of the Vietnam War.  There is absolutely a connection between the toxins used in Vietnam and the chronic forms of neuropathy.  I only hope that this is acknowledged soon by the NAS, the VA, and practicing physicians, as otherwise the hope of Vietnam Veterans and other patients of the chronic neuropathies are as dim for Vietnam Veterans as they are for the little girl of Da Nang Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Kieu Nhung age 7, who suffers with us with symptoms of a chronic neuropathy in 2007 from these chemicals of three decades ago. 

 

 

 

 

“Veterans Affairs Contract Neurologist Unknowingly Reconfirms the Effectiveness of Gamma Globulin IV for the Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy” published 2007 by LtCol Eugene B. Richardson USA Retired (Article #VA 3 Part 1)

 

The full article notes the 2003 published research article by twenty two research neurologists, writing a major research paper entitled, “Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathies”, published by the Neuropathy Association associated with Cornell University. These experts in neurology noted that when the standard test data for diagnosing a chronic neuropathy failed to confirm such a diagnosis, with all other causes ruled out, yet a chronic neuropathy with atypical symptoms was suspected, a trial of gamma globulin should be tried. If the patient responds to this or other treatments such as plasma exchange or an immune suppressant, it confirms the diagnosis of a chronic neuropathy.

 

In 2006, a VA contract neurologist denied the diagnosis because the elementary symptoms he was looking for were not present in the patient at the time of the examination. This lack of some symptoms in the Veteran was due to the administration of gamma globulin seven days before.  The VA doctor unknowingly, by his denial of the Veterans diagnosis, confirmed the very diagnosis he denied.  The Veterans application is now buried under the 600,000 appeal backlog at the VA.

 

 

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