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Cohort of Veterans

Veterans are signing up to be part of a large genetic research cohort, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

It writes that veterans like Jonathan Brewer are being recruited for the Million Veteran Program. The initiative started in 2011 and aims to enroll a million veterans to give blood samples for genetic analysis and fill out surveys about their health and behavior.

Suma Muralidhar, the director of the Million Veteran Program, tells the Journal Sentinel that veterans are an ideal group to harness for such a cohort as their medical records are available throughout the Veterans Affairs medical system and as they are a stable, altruistic population. She adds that eight studies relying on the cohort are underway, with 20 more just about ready to go and that those efforts examine a range of health issues from post-traumatic stress disorder to diabetes to age-related macular degeneration. Muralidhar notes, though, that the veteran population skews older and male, so they are making an effort to recruit female veterans and some still in the service.

"When I saw the program, I was interested in what it was. I was gung-ho," Brewer, a Navy veteran, tells the Journal Sentinel.