This study will identify living veterans with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) through a
national registry that is being developed. Diagnosis of ALS will be verified by study
neurologists via medical record review. Registry participation includes a bi-annual
telephone interview to collect functional status data.
Primary Objective: To identify as completely as possible all veterans with ALS and to
collect data which will be available for approved studies examining the cause(s) of ALS.
Secondary Objective: To provide a mechanism for the VA to inform veterans with ALS about
clinical trials and other studies for which they may be eligible.
Primary Outcomes: Identification of all living veterans with ALS.
Study Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset, rapidly fatal
neuromuscular disease of unknown etiology. ALS is a disease of high priority to the VA,
particularly due to ongoing concerns about the health of veterans who served in the Gulf
War. Efforts are needed to systematically identify and track veterans with ALS.
Accordingly, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is developing a national registry of
veterans diagnosed with ALS.
Research Design: The registry will not be designed to test specific hypotheses but will
focus on comprehensive identification of veterans with ALS who may be eligible for other
Methodology: Eligible participants will include all living veterans with a physician
diagnosis of ALS. Veterans with possible ALS will be identified through VA medical records,
the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and self-referral. Neurologists with expertise
in ALS will review veterans' medical records to verify the diagnosis and determine
eligibility. Upon enrollment, veterans will be asked to complete a brief telephone
interview. Registry participants will also be contacted by telephone biannually to assess
health and functional status. The VA may notify registry participants about clinical trials
for which they may be eligible. A Scientific Review Committee will evaluate all studies
that request use of registry data and/or access to Registry participants.
Impacts: The registry will provide the VA with a valuable mechanism for involving veterans
in clinical trials and other studies that may yield improved outcomes for ALS. In addition,
data gathered as a part of the registry has the potential to benefit not only veterans, but
also the larger community of individuals with ALS.
Living veteran with ALS verified via medical record review.
Veteran whose medial records did not verify an ALS diagnosis.