Online Program

A 20-year longitudinal epidemiologic study and its continued applicability for new research findings and directions: The Air Force Health Study

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Anne Styka, MPH, Board on the Health of Select Populations, Institute of Medicine, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Washington, DC
David A. Butler, PhD, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
The U.S. Congress asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to help make a uniquely rich and largely unexplored longitudinal epidemiologic database available to researchers and to facilitate more expansive research on the materials. Available data comprise medical, physical exam, and laboratory records as well as information collected from extensive questionnaires on ~2,200 male veterans. Participants were followed for up to 20 years and took part in up to six intensive, multiday exams in years 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, and 20 of the study. Information includes objective clinical measures and outcomes and self-reported socioeconomic status; marital and fertility history; child and family health; health habits; recreation, leisure, and physical activities; toxic substances exposure; and military experience. Biospecimens were collected at each exam and subjected to >200 laboratory tests and measures; many parameters were measured repeatedly over time. About 91,000 biospecimens (serum, whole blood, urine, semen, and adipose tissue) were stored and are available for use in future analyses. The cohort’s biospecimens are particularly valuable in that some types—such as serum and urine—were collected longitudinally and all of the samples can be linked to the extensive information contained in the database. These assets are now being made available to the scientific community for use in novel research studies. This presentation will address: the characteristics of the data and biospecimens, and scientific merit of their continued study; the status of the IOM management and dissemination effort including examples of successful research projects using the assets; and potential future research opportunities.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the data and biospecimens collected over the course of the Air Force Health Study. Identify opportunities for future research using the health data and biospecimens.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Research Director of the Air Force Health Study (AFHS) Assets Research Program at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. I have managed the research program for over three years, work with the many researchers who have applied to use the AFHS assets throughout the course of their project, and I have given several presentations on this subject.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.