Review of the Scientific Literature on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Veterans

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Diseases, Military and Veterans Health
Board: Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice

Activity Description

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and nearly always fatal disease that affects a person’s nervous system. It is sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who died from it. ALS affects 20,000-30,000 men and women in the United States at any given time.

Several recent epidemiologic studies have reported an association between development of ALS and prior service in the US military. Because of the findings of those studies, the Department of Veterans Affairs asked the Institute of Medicine to conduct an independent assessment of the potential relationship between military service and ALS. The IOM committee reviewed, evaluated, and summarized the peer-reviewed scientific literature on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in veterans.

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