VA Medical Center enrolls 3,000th veteran in research program
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center recently reached 3,000 participants for the Million Veteran Program, a national voluntary research program conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The knowledge gained will allow a better understanding of how genes affect veterans' health and illness.
"I decided to get involved because I think the program will help other veterans," said Navy veteran Gerald Blankenship in a press release. "I especially think the younger troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan will benefit most from this research.
"It was easy; only a few minutes, gave one small tube of blood and filled out a questionnaire," Blankenship continued. "Amazing that something so simple can possibly lead to developing treatments for military-related conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and common medical illnesses like diabetes and heart disease."
Participants complete a one-time study visit to provide a blood sample for analysis. They also fill out health surveys, allowing ongoing access to medical records and agreeing to future contact. The program will establish one of the largest databases of genes and health history, with MVP hoping to enroll one million veterans over the next five to seven years.
"Genes may be a critical part of why some people get diseases and others do not," said Rayan Al Jurdi, M.D., a MEDVAMC psychiatrist, co-primary investigator of the MVP in Houston, and an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine. "Genes may also affect how we respond to certain medications. Because of their genetic makeup, some people may respond better than others to a particular treatment, or experience different side effects. Overall, a better understanding of how genes work may help to prevent and improve treatment of disease."
Results from MVP will improve health care for all Americans. Veteran participation does not affect access to VA health care or benefits.
Visit research.va.gov/mvp to learn more. For more information or to participate, call the MVP information center toll-free at 866-441-6075.
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