Agent Orange and Alzheimer's

Agent Orange And Alzheimer’s

Is There a Link Between Agent Orange and Alzheimer’s Disease?

A connection between Agent Orange and Alzheimer’s disease has caused a great deal of discussion.  Almost 50 years after the last American troops left Vietnam, researchers are still struggling to understand the link between the defoliant Agent Orange and serious illness. The link between Agent Orange and neurological problems is particularly difficult to identify.

Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange (so named because of the orange band on the chemical drums) on the jungles of Vietnam. The idea was to deprive the enemy of cover. But like most other forms of chemical warfare, the spraying had some unintended consequences. Agent Orange contained traces of dioxin, one of the most powerful and most harmful chemicals known to man. As a result, many veterans exposed to Agent Orange came home with serious illnesses. In most cases, these illnesses did not manifest for several years, or even several decades, after the veterans returned stateside.

Dioxin, much like cigarette smoke and other toxins, alters cellular genetic makeup. Some of these effects are known. For example, altered cells replicate quickly, often forming malignant tumors. Other effects are unknown, especially the link between Agent Orange and dementia-like conditions.

Making Your Claim for Compensation

Currently, the Veterans Disability Board does not recognize a connection between Agent Orange and Alzheimer’s Disease. However, these victims may still be eligible for compensation. The latest research indicates that there is a link between these two things. The link is even stronger if the veteran also has a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis.

PTSD is not a “processing disorder.” It is a serious brain injury. Exposure to combat stress erodes the cerebral cortex. This area of the brain keeps the amygdala in check. The cerebral cortex controls logical reasoning and analysis; the amygdala governs emotional responses to stimuli.

The relationship between these two areas of the brain is like the relationship between a rider and a horse. If the rider is incapacitated, the horse may run wild. Likewise, if the cerebral cortex is impaired, the amygdala becomes too powerful. This result explains symptoms like:

  • Heightened awareness,
  • Nightmares, and
  • Flashbacks.

Alzheimer’s Disease, or another form of dementia, is one of the long-term effects of a brain injury. Researchers are still not certain if one traumatic combat experience causes this brain injury, or if it is the cumulative effect of less-intense instances.

Cell-altering chemicals like dioxin exacerbate the effects of this brain injury. The PTSD/Agent Orange/Alzheimer’s Disease connection is especially acute in Vietnam veterans over age 55.

Veterans Disability Matters and Aggravating Conditions

Sometimes, aggravating conditions claims deteriorate into “chicken-or-the-egg” discussions. Fortunately, it does not matter if the PTSD or the Agent Orange exposure occurred first. Either way, full compensation may be available.

The VA may not acknowledge certain scientific facts, but it does acknowledge the eggshell skull rule. According to this legal doctrine, wrongdoers are fully responsible for all injury damages, whether the cause was direct or indirect.

Assume a veteran who recently underwent back surgery is rear-ended on his way home from a disability hearing. The impact is not terribly serious, but because of the veteran’s pre-existing condition, his injuries are severe. The other driver is fully responsible for all damages, and not just the ones that the collision directly caused.

Partner with Assertive Attorneys

Research indicates that Agent Orange may cause or aggravate neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease. For a free consultation with an experienced veterans disability lawyer, contact Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to successfully represent veterans nationwide.

This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.