IOM Calls for Registry on Military Exposure to Roadside Bombs

February 14, 2014 in News

The Institute of Medicine is urging that the Department of Veterans Affairs create a data registry to track the long-term health effects of roadside bombs on military service members, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Background

According to the AP/Journal-Constitution, nearly 3,600 service members have been killed by roadside bombs. In addition, 34,000 service members in Afghanistan and Iraq have been wounded by such devices.

VA asked IOM to examine whether service members who are exposed to roadside bombs have a higher risk for long-term health problems.

IOM Findings

IOM’s review of hundreds of research papers on the subject found that there was “sufficient evidence” that roadside bomb blasts contribute to ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder and concussion-like symptoms.

However, the review found that there was not enough data to determine whether bomb blast exposure can lead to:

  • Chronic pain;
  • Depression;
  • Long-term hearing loss;
  • Osteoarthritis;
  • Substance misuse;
  • Tinnitus; and
  • Vertigo.

As a result, the IOM panel recommended that VA create a registry to better track the long-term effects of roadside bombs.

VA — which already has registries for military personnel exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and those who served during the first Gulf War — said it would review IOM’s recommendations (Freking, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/13).

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