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Purple Heart veterans live longer, VA study finds

Purple Heart

PUBLIC DOMAIN

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 15, 2011

A Veterans Affairs Department study of World War II and Korean War-era veterans has shown that Purple Heart recipients died at a much slower rate than those who didn’t receive the medal, according to a story in the Air Force Times.

But researchers stop short of suggesting that a combat injury is one key to living a longer life, the Times says.

Researchers from the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System looked at the medical records of 10,255 veterans over age 65 to determine whether wounded servicemembers who were never diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder were more resilient to disease, illness and death.

Their study found that, indeed, Purple Heart recipients — regardless of whether they had been diagnosed with PTSD — were twice as likely to be alive after 10 years of follow-up, compared to veterans who did not have a Purple Heart, the Air Force Times story said. In fact, among Purple Heart recipients, those diagnosed with PTSD had a slightly lower death rate than those without a diagnosis, the researcher found.

Read more about what the researchers discovered about Purple Hearts and the life span of aging veterans in the Air Force Times.