136 pages | 6 x 9
Many individuals, groups, and federal agencies have a strong interest in finding answers to the numerous and complex questions regarding the health of Gulf War veterans. Various types of research and health measurement are needed to address these diverse issues. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was asked by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to undertake a study to identify important questions concerning the health of Gulf War veterans and then to design a study to answer those questions. The committee determined that it is of fundamental importance to ask how healthy are Gulf War veterans? Are they as healthy as others? What characteristics are associated with differences between the health of Gulf War veterans and the health of others?
To address these questions, it will be necessary to measure not only the health status of those who served in the Gulf War, but also to compare Gulf War veterans with other groups. Further, one must continue to follow these groups through time to determine whether the groups differ in the way their health status is changing. As the committee began to develop a design that would address the fundamental questions identified, it realized that such a study could have important implications for understanding not only the health of Gulf War veterans, but also the health of veterans of other conflicts.