An assessment of survey measures used across key epidemiologic studies of United States Gulf War I Era veterans.
Over the past two decades, 12 large epidemiologic studies and 2 registries have focused on U.S. veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War Era. We conducted a review of these studies' research tools to identify existing gaps and overlaps of efforts to date, and to advance development of the next generation of Gulf War Era survey tools. Overall, we found that many of the studies used similar instruments. Questions regarding exposures were more similar across studies than other domains, while neurocognitive and psychological tools were the most variable. Many studies focused on self-reported survey results, with a range of validation practices. However, physical exams, biomedical assessments, and specimen storage were not common. This review suggests that while research may be able to pool data from past surveys, future surveys need to consider how their design can yield data comparable with previous surveys. Additionally, data that incorporate recent technologies in specimen and genetic analyses would greatly enhance such survey data. When combined with existing data on deployment-related exposures and post-deployment health conditions, longitudinal follow-up of existing studies within this collaborative framework could represent an important step toward improving the health of veterans.
McNeil, RB; Thomas, CM; Coughlin, SS; Hauser, E; Huang, GD; Goldstein, KM; Johnson, MR; Dunn-Thomas, T; Provenzale, DT
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