Doctors at National Jewish Health, in close collaboration with the Department of Defense, are trying to discover the cause. “Unfortunately, we don't have enough information to know precisely what’s causing the increase in respiratory symptoms in people who are deployed,” said Cecile Rose, MD, MPH, Director of the newly created National Jewish Health Center of Excellence on Deployment-Related Lung Disease.
Richard Meehan, MD, FACP, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and an Iraq veteran, and Dr. Rose have established a program to provide clinical care and to conduct clinical and translational research aimed at understanding the respiratory effects of toxic exposures to military personnel incurred during overseas deployment, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This new program focuses on diagnosing and treating lung conditions related to deployment in Southwest Asia. In the future, Drs. Rose and Meehan also hope to build a registry and biorepository of specimens from these veterans and use the specimens to conduct research into prevention and treatment of potential deployment-related lung diseases, including blast-related acute lung injury as well as bronchiolitis, asthma, pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis, and lung cancer.