AO 2005

Veterans and Agent Orange Update 2004 (2005)

By David Barker

The report has been released with little change. We have gone through a two year period of study and research with the National Academy of Sciences, for the VA and the net result was a clarification on insulin dependent diabetes type 2. To me it was extremely disappointing, that so many subjects remained untouched and new conditions were not added. Those exposed to Agent Orange, must again wait on those who have little sense of urgency. The now aging Vietnam veterans, find their ranks starting to thin. Many Agent Orange exposed veterans have met premature death, as a result of conditions many strongly believe are the result of the exposure.

The VAO Update 2004 has supposedly clarified the insulin dependent diabetes type 2 as a result of my personal testimony before the NAS committee in July 2004. In discussions with committee members it was stated they (the committee) were unaware the VA was denying claims for some veterans, due to insulin dependent being classified as diabetes type 1. The VA position was diabetes type 1 was juvenile onset, rather than adult onset which is known as diabetes type 2.

The report defined the conditions "diabetes mellitus is a group of heterogeneous metabolic disorders characterized by hyperglycemia and quantitative or qualitative deficiency of insulin action (Orchard et al., 1992). Although all form share hyperglycemia, the pathogenic processes involved in its development differ. Most diabetes fall into two categories: Type 1 diabetes is characterized by an absolute deficiency of insulin caused by the destruction of insulin producing cells. In the pancreas.; type 2 diabetes is characterized by a combination of resistance to the actions of insulin and inadequate secretion of insulin, called relative insulin deficiency. In the old classification systems type 1 diabetes was called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile onset diabetes mellitus; type 2 diabetes was called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus

The report defined the conditions "diabetes mellitus is a group of heterogeneous metabolic disorders characterized by hyperglycemia and quantitative or qualitative deficiency of insulin action (Orchard et al., 1992). Although all form share hyperglycemia, the pathogenic processes involved in its development differ. Most diabetes fall into two categories: Type 1 diabetes is characterized by an absolute deficiency of insulin caused by the destruction of insulin producing cells. In the pancreas.; type 2 diabetes is characterized by a combination of resistance to the actions of insulin and inadequate secretion of insulin, called relative insulin deficiency. In the old classification systems type 1 diabetes was called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile onset diabetes mellitus; type 2 diabetes was called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or adult onset diabetes mellitus. The modern classification system recognizes that type 2 can occur in children and also can require insulin. For both types, long term complications can include cardiovascular disease nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy and increased vulnerability to infections. Maintaining correct blood sugar concentrations within the normal range is crucial for preventing complications...

The etiology of diabetes type 2 is unknown, but three major components have been identified: peripheral insulin resistance (thought by many to be primary) in target tissues (muscle, adipose tissue, liver) a defect in -cell insulin secretion; and hepatic glucose overproduction. In states of insulin resistance, insulin secretion is initially higher for each concentration of glucose, compared with that for people without diabetes. That hyperinsulinemic state is a compensation for peripheral resistance and can often maintain normal glucose levels for years. Eventually, -cell compensation become inadequate and there is progression to overt diabetes with concomitant hyperglycemia. The reason the -cell cease to produce sufficient insulin is not known.

A lawsuit was entered in the U.S. District Court, Brooklyn, by the Vietnamese government, relating to Agent Orange and the suit was dismissed. This suit could have well been exactly what the Vietnam veteran needed, to substantiate the claims of many diseases and birth defects. Ironic but true, this is the same court which let the chemical companies off the hook for $180 million dollars back in the 1980's!

We shall review briefly these studies made by independent sources. Dr. Hoang Dinh Cau, chairman of the government-supported National Committee for Investigation of the Consequences of Chemicals used in the Vietnam War, known as the 10-80 Committee, has studied the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnamese people over two decades. Dr. Cau is not as guarded as others at Tu Du Hospital in discussing the use of the herbicide, which contained dioxin, a contaminant many Western researchers called the most toxic chemical discovered by mankind so far. This was also stated in my book "

 

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IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH FOR VIETNAM COMBAT VETERANS."
The original essay "Poison: Agent Orange" published by The Ohio AMVET in 1983 is the chapter with that statement. "We have recognized many kinds of birth defects associated with dioxin," Dr. Cau said, opening up a book with photographs of Vietnamese civilians identified as Agent Orange victims. Several of the photos depict badly deformed infants. The children in Vietnam suffer a broad range of birth defects: many have unformed limbs, others are mentally handicapped and those with extremely enlarged heads. Vietnamese scientists and government officials believe the children, along with hundreds of thousands of other Vietnamese are victims of the massive amounts of Agent Orange herbicide that US forces dumped on South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Vietnamese researchers, as well as some of their Western colleagues, know that the more than 11 million gallons of Agent Orange that the US military introduced to South Vietnamese ecosystems created a public-health nightmare from which Vietnam has not recovered. Vietnamese scientists believe the dioxin contamination has caused not only birth defects, but also respiratory cancers, heart problems and diabetes. In 2000 the US Air Force released a study indicating a link between Agent Orange exposure, diabetes and heart disease. It has been well over 30 years since the United States stopped using Agent Orange. Thus many seriously ill patients have already died.

So our Agent Orange plight struggles on.
 

 

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