Science and Technology News

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Navy Medicine Study Seeks New Participants

From U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Navy Medicine's Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) research team announced June 14, it expects to expand its number of study participants by 50,000 this year and is currently seeking new volunteers to participate.

The MCS is designed to combine survey data with vaccination, personnel, deployment, and military health system information, to evaluate the impact of military service, including deployment, on various health measures. The study is the largest prospective military health study in the U.S. and captures data from personnel across all branches of the military.

"The Millennium Cohort Study is poised to provide critical information toward understanding the long-term health of future generations of military members, thus contributing to force health protection; a DoD priority," said Dr. Nancy F. Crum-Cianflone, the study's principal investigator. "In addition to the enrollment of service members in this cycle, we hope to enroll about 10,000 military spouses as part of the Millennium Cohort Family Study."

MCS is being conducted by the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC), and the team hopes to add 50,000 U.S. service members to reach a total goal of more than 200,000 participants this year. Enrollment cycles, which occur every three years, have been timed to assess the occupational exposures and health outcomes that may be related to deployment. The study is in its tenth year and is scheduled to continue until 2022.

MCS is designed to get a better sense of how military families are coping with military life after nearly a decade of war. The anticipated 10,000 spouses who enroll will be contacted every three years to complete a follow-up survey, even if their sponsor is no longer in the service. Findings from this study will help to understand the emerging and changing needs of military families, as well as the cumulative effect of multiple deployments.

In response to concerns about the health effects of deployments following the 1991 Gulf War, Congress and the Institute of Medicine recommended DoD conduct prospective epidemiological research to evaluate the impact of military exposures, including deployment, on long-term health outcomes.

MSC, with more than 150,000 participants at present, meets this critical need. Although the original designers of the study could not foresee the post-2001 military conflicts, the project is positioned to address health outcomes related to these operations.

More than forty percent of MCS participants have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their input will enable investigators to prospectively evaluate detailed data from before, during, and long after these deployments. Current areas of analyses include post traumatic stress disorder, depression, alcohol misuse, respiratory illnesses, and traumatic brain injury.

For more information on the Millennium Cohort Study visit millenniumcohort.org.

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