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VFW Magazine January 2018 : Page 12

WASHINGTON WIRE, CONT. Veterans at Greater Risk for Alzheimer’s have suffered a TBI are 60 percent more likely to develop dementia. On average, dementia onset occurs two years earlier in veterans who have a TBI, according to the study. As a result of the report, VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s (VA2) was launched. It aims to serve as a network for veterans and their families, con-necting them to service organizations, researchers and clinicians. VA2 founder Shawn Taylor said she’s on a mission to educate the veteran com-munity about Alzheimer’s. VFW, too, sees the importance of com-municating these facts about Alzheimer’s to its membership. “Education is critical,” said Ryan Gallucci, director of VFW’s National Veterans Service. “We’re not experts on treating Alzheimer’s or dementia, but we know that our members cope with this. And we have the ability to reach them in ways that VA and the health care advo-cacy community may not be able to.” For more information, visit veterans againstalzheimers.org. A Quick Look at Alzheimer’s • Alzheimer’s disease is always fatal. It is the only top 10 cause of death in the U.S. with no cure. • Some 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to grow to nearly 14 million by 2050. • 200,000 people under the age of 65 in the U.S. are living with what’s known as Early Onset Alzheimer’s. • Women are 2.5 times more likely to die from Alzheimer’s. • Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., following cancer and heart disease. • Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease to treat in America. Source: VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s UsAgainstAlzheimer’s released a report in October highlighting the correla-tion between PTSD, TBI, depression, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Called “Veterans and Alzheimer’s: Meeting the Crisis Head On,” the report highlights the need for increased research and better access to quality care for veterans with Alzheimer’s. The report states that 49 percent of veterans who are age 65 or older are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s. This com-pares to just 15 percent of the general population over age 65. Furthermore, older veterans who Record Number of Remains ID’d The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) made 201 individual identifications of remains of U.S. troops in fiscal year 2017, according to Kelly McKeague, agency director. This sets an agency record, as fiscal year 2016 saw 164 remains identified. “These numbers are an unprec-edented achievement in the account-ing mission’s history,” McKeague told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser . “This is without question a testa-ment to the teamwork and tenacity of the entire DPAA team.” McKeague added that DPAA fields more than 600 military and civilian personnel around the world, and is “committed to researching, investigating, recovering and identifying U.S. service members and civil-ians who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.” Located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, DPAA’s facility also boasts an $85 million identification laboratory. More than 400 personnel are based in Hawaii. Unemployment for Vets Hits Record Low The rate of vet-erans’ unemploy-ment hit a record low in October. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it dropped to 2.7 percent from 3 percent in September. It marks the lowest rate for veterans since 2006, and the second consecutive month the rate set a record low. In October 2016, the rate was 4.3 percent. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans saw a drop to 3.6 percent, down from 4.2 per-cent in August. The jobless rate for Gulf War-era vetearns dropped to 1.9 percent in October. Overall, the national unemployment rate decreased slightly from 4.2 percent to 4.1 percent in October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics attrib-utes the loss of jobs in September to hurricanes Harvey and Irma . Members of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) excavate a wet unit in the Xiangkhouang Province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic on March 30, 2016. DPAA set a new record in fiscal year 2017 by identifying 201 remains of U.S. troops. Located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, DPAA’s job is to provide the fullest possible accounting of U.S. missing military personnel around the world. DOD PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. JOCELYN FORD, USAF/RELEASED 12 • VFW  • JANUARY 2018

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