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Vietnam Experience Study

The Vietnam Experience Study was a multidimensional assessment of the health of Vietnam veterans. From a random sample of enlisted men who entered the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1971, 7,924 Vietnam and 7364 non-Vietnam veterans participated in a telephone interview. A random subsample of 2,490 Vietnam and 1,972 non-Vietnam veterans also underwent a comprehensive health examination, including medical examination, laboratory tests, and a psychological evaluation. During the telephone interview, Vietnam veterans reported current and past health problems more frequently than did non-Vietnam veterans. The Vietnam veterans also reported more health problems among their children, including more birth defects, and more problems with impaired fertility.

The results of the medical and laboratory examinations showed few current objective differences in physical health between the two groups. The Vietnam veterans did have more hearing loss. Also, among a subsample of 571 participants who had semen samples evaluated, Vietnam veterans had lower sperm concentrations and lower mean proportions of "normal" sperm. Despite differences in sperm characteristics, however, the Vietnam and non-Vietnam veterans had fathered similar numbers of children. An examination of hospital birth records showed that the children of Vietnam veterans were not more likely to have birth defects recorded on hospital birth records than were children of non-Vietnam veterans. The rates of birth defects were similar among children of Vietnam and non-Vietnam veterans. The psychological evaluation found that certain psychological problems were more common among the Vietnam veterans than among non-Vietnam veterans. These problems included depression, anxiety, and combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

Publications

Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Volume I, Synopsis
The results of the Vietnam Experience Study (VES), which looked for adverse effects among men who had served in Vietnam, are summarized here.


Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Volume II, Telephone Interview
This manual provides documentation of the laboratory methods used and the QC results obtained for the bioanalysis of blood, urine, and semen specimens from veterans who participated in the Vietnam Experience Study.


Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Volume III, Medical Examination
This manual provides documentation of the laboratory methods used and the QC results obtained for the bioanalysis of blood, urine, and semen specimens from veterans who participated in the Vietnam Experience Study.


Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Volume IV, Laboratory Psychological and Neuropsychological Evaluation
This manual provides documentation of the laboratory methods used and the QC results obtained for the bioanalysis of blood, urine, and semen specimens from veterans who participated in the Vietnam Experience Study.


Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Volume V, Reproductive Outcomes and Child Health
This manual provides documentation of the laboratory methods used and the QC results obtained for the bioanalysis of blood, urine, and semen specimens from veterans who participated in the Vietnam Experience Study.


Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Supplement A, Laboratory Methods and Quality Control
This manual provides documentation of the laboratory methods used and the QC results obtained for the bioanalysis of blood, urine, and semen specimens from veterans who participated in the Vietnam Experience Study.


Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Supplement B, Medical and Psychological Data Quality
Learn more about the various methods used to assure the good quality of data collected for the medical and psychological examination components of the Vietnam Experience Study.


Health Status of Vietnam Veterans: Supplement C, Medical and Psychological Procedure Manuals and Forms
This supplement provides documentation of medical and psychological examination manuals and data collection forms used for the Vietnam Experience Study.


Vietnam Veterans' Risks for Fathering Babies with Birth Defects
Vietnam veterans' risks for fathering babies born with major structural birth defects were assessed by using a case-control study design.


The Centers for Disease Control Vietnam Experience Study. Health status of Vietnam veterans: I. Psychosocial characteristics. Journal of the American Medical Association 1988;259:2701–7.

The Centers for Disease Control Vietnam Experience Study. Health status of Vietnam veterans: II. Physical health. Journal of the American Medical Association 1988;259:2708–14.

The Centers for Disease Control Vietnam Experience Study. Health status of Vietnam veterans: III. Reproductive outcomes and child health. Journal of the American Medical Association 1988;259:2715–9.

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