The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has commissioned its first major study of whether men and women who served in America’s most recent wars passed on any health problems to their children or grandchildren.
Researchers with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine will hunt for any research that suggests soldiers who fought in the first Gulf War, the post-9/11 Iraq war and Afghanistan might have passed on any medical conditions to their descendants.
“We are evaluating whether there is any evidence out there. And if there isn’t, then let’s design recommendations that can help acquire that kind of data in the most effective and meaningful way,” says Dr. Kenneth Ramos, chair of the committee overseeing the study.
The VA is required by law to explore potential connections between military service and negative health outcomes. Previous government studies have looked into whether veterans of the Gulf War and those on active duty since 9/11 suffered health problems after their service; the new study will be the first step in an effort to evaluate their children and grandchildren.