160349 Exploring the untapped potential of the "Ranch Hand" database

Monday, November 5, 2007: 4:55 PM

Rick Erdtmann, MD, MPH , Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC
David A. Butler, PhD , Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
The US Congress has directed the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences to take responsibility for the data and biologic assets collected in the course of the Air Force Health Study, popularly known as the Ranch Hand Study. The study—which was originally focused on the possible influence of wartime exposure to herbicides—has collected serial biologic samples, and voluminous health status, demographic, and SES data from ~2300 Vietnam veterans in a longitudinal effort spanning over twenty years. Data from physical examinations include blood draws, urine and semen collections, skin and fat biopsies, stool smears, spirometry, chest X rays, electrocardiograms, dermatology and peripheral vascular examinations, neurological assessments, psychological testing, and many other clinical endpoints. Questionnaires eliciting information on education; employment; income; marital and fertility history; child and family health; health habits; recreation, leisure, and physical activities; toxic substances exposure; military experience; and wartime herbicide exposure were also administered. Reproductive data were gathered and coded on ~9,900 conceptions and 8,100 live births. Much of the information, which is detailed in the IOM report "Disposition of the Air Force Health Study", has never been analyzed. The IOM plans to make these materials available for study in 2008. This presentation will address: (1) the characteristics of the Ranch Hand data and biologic assets; (2) the scientific merit of their future study; and (3) potential research opportunities.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant should be able to: 1. Describe the intent and structure of the Air Force Health Study ("Ranch Hand" Study). 2. Discuss the characteristics of the biologic samples and data collected in the course of the study. 3. Identify the major area for future research on the assets.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Male Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: -

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.