Considerations for Designing an Epidemiologic Study for Multiple Sclerosis and other Neurologic Disorders in Pre and Post 9/11 Gulf War Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs requested that the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conduct a study to respond to Public Law 110-389 enacted in 2008 to determine the incidence and prevalence, as well as the risk of developing multiple sclerosis and other neurologic diseases as a result of service in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf and post 9/11 Global Operations theaters. Specifically, the other neurologic diseases to be considered are migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and brain cancers, as well as central nervous system abnormalities that are difficult to precisely diagnose. The committee’s statement of task, based on the legislation, is provided in the box below. However, the SOT is not addressed in this report, rather it responds to a requirement in the IOM’s contract with the VA, which included that “the committee will request data from the VA…. The data request will be for existing VA data, rather than for the collection of new data, however, the committee might want the data to be combined in a way that will produce a new data set” and a clause regarding the feasibility of conducting the study, specifically, Within 60 days of contract end date, provide status report/summary memorandum feasibility of proceeding with study.