- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I need to renew my dependent ID and would like to know if there is somewhere near Harrison, Ark., we can go. I am aware of Little Rock AFB and an armory in Fayetteville, Ark. Also, there is Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Of these three locations, Fayetteville is the closest that we know of; however, we were wondering if there was somewhere a bit closer. Thank you very much.

Arkansas Spouse
Via the Internet

Dear Arkansas Spouse:

According to the Department of Defense (DoD) RAPIDS website, the Fayetteville Armory at 61 miles is the closest ID-card-issuing facility to the town of Harrison, Ark. Next closest is at NOSC Springfield, Mo., which is 69 miles.

Staff notes

• The Department of Veterans Affairs is publishing a proposed regulation in the Federal Register that would change its rules to add five diagnosable illnesses that are secondary to service-connected Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

“We must always decide veterans’ disability claims based on the best science available, and we will,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence that ensure they receive benefits earned through their service to the country.”

VA proposes to add a new subsection to its adjudication regulation by revising 38 CFR 3.310 to state that if a veteran who has a service-connected TBI also has one of the five illnesses, then the illness will be considered service-connected as secondary to the TBI.

Service connection under the proposed rule depends in part upon the severity of the TBI (mild, moderate or severe) and the period of time between the injury and onset of the secondary illness. However, the proposed rule also clarifies that it does not preclude a veteran from establishing direct service connection even if those time and severity standards are not met. It also defines the terms mild, moderate and severe, consistent with DoD guidelines.

VA’s decision is based on a report by the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Gulf War and Health, Volume 7: Long-Term Consequences of TBI.” In its report, the IOM’s Committee on Gulf War and Health concluded that “sufficient evidence of a causal relationship” — the IOM’s highest evidentiary standard — existed between moderate or severe levels of TBI and diagnosed unprovoked seizures.

The IOM found “sufficient evidence of an association” between moderate or severe levels of TBI and Parkinsonism; dementias (which VA understands to include presenile dementia of the Alzheimer type and post-traumatic dementia); depression (which also was associated with mild TBI); and diseases of hormone deficiency that may result from hypothalamo-pituitary changes.

Specific information about the Defense and Veteran Brain Injury Center is available at http://www.dvbic.org/. Information about Gulf War and VA’s services and programs are available at http://www.publicheath.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/index.asp.

• The Department of Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program (MVP) recently enrolled its 100,000th volunteer research participant, and now stands at more than 110,000 enrollees, marking a major milestone in the nearly 90-year history of VA research.

“MVP is a truly historic effort, in terms of both VA research and medical research in general,” Mr. Shinseki said. “Veterans nationwide are helping to create a database that has the potential to help millions around the country — veteran and non-veteran alike. They are continuing to serve the nation well beyond the time they stopped wearing the uniform.”

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