Army: Military Operational Medicine Research Program

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Abstract
The Military Operational Medicine Research Program (MOMRP) conducts biomedical research to deliver products and solutions to the Service member that address health and fitness throughout the Deployment Cycle. The MOMRPis centered on cutting-edge scientific research and bringing science to the Service member on the battlefield in a relevant, timely manner. The MOMRP is divided into four research focus areas:
1. Injury Prevention and Reduction
2. Psychological Health and Resilience
3. Physiological Health
4. Environmental Health and Protection

The mission of the MOMRP is to develop effective countermeasures against stressors and to maximize health, performance and fitness. The mission is protecting the whole Service member head-to toe, inside and out, at home and on the battlefield.

The four focus areas of research emphasis include the following:
a. Injury Prevention and Reduction: This area of research addresses the requirement to provide the biomedical basis for countermeasures that prevent and mitigate Service member injury and decrease attrition, medical cost, and minimize personal impact to the Service member. Specifically, this includes the need to: prevent vision and hearing loss along with blast-related injuries and training injuries; identify validated fitness for duty/”return-to-duty” standards following neurosensory and musculoskeletal injury; develop biomedically valid injury criteria and performance standards for individual (helmet and body armor) and crew protection systems; develop injury risk criteria and tools for health hazard and Service member survivability assessors; and Service member monitoring/sensor with accompanying algorithms that predict the likelihood of neurosensory, musculoskeletal, and brain injury.

b. Psychological Health and Resilience: This research area focuses on the development and validation of effective evidence-based screening and assessment strategies and prevention treatment, and cognitive rehabilitation interventions that reduce the negative impact of behavioral health disorders and concussion/mild traumatic brain injury. Research also aims to develop psychological resilience among warriors and Families to prevent negative behavioral health outcomes. Additional research areas that are often overlooked but relevant include: foundation studies to validate theories and elucidate underlying mechanisms of disorders; studies addressing co-morbidities (to include post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], concussion, alcohol and other drug abuse, sleep disturbance, and mood disorders); studies focused on enhancing implementation and uptake of evidence-based prevention, screening, assessment, and treatment techniques; research on the use of a wide variety of advanced medical technologies to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with ongoing health problems and technologies to monitor health status of every soldier for the Surgeon General’s “triad initiative” (nutrition, exercise, and sleep). Technologies include telemedicine, remote monitoring, biosensors, advance immunologic testing, health information technologies for care management and decision support and technologies for patient empowerment and education, and Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) covering a range of research areas such as acupuncture to meditation techniques, along with validation studies of CAM therapies. The objective is to identify CAM therapies and methodologies to lower dependency on medications to treat pain and mental health disorders, to include stress and anxiety. This area also supports research to support the development of strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and mitigation of cognitive dysfunction associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and war-related injuries. Research topics of particular interest include those directed at the development of a systematically applied set of therapeutic services designed to reduce cognitive dysfunction and restore functions that can be restored and/or assist individuals in compensating for the impact on daily living when functions cannot be restored to pre-injury level.

c. Physiological Health: This area of research develops biomedical countermeasures to sustain Service Member health and operational effectiveness, including: state-of-the-art policy, training, and materiel solutions to establish, sustain, optimize, and monitor Service member health, physiological resilience, cognitive abilities throughout training, deployment, reset, and injury recovery cycles. This research aims to prevent or mitigate the effects of physiological stressors on the performance and fitness of Service member. Studies include use of dietary supplements, and nutritional and behavioral interventions to mitigate threats to operational health and performance. Research also aims to develop advanced biomedical modeling and networked physiological status monitoring capabilities, healthy sleep and fatigue management strategies, individual differences in sleep loss resilience, and individualized resilience to various operational stressors. Technologies and strategies to monitor and promote Service member and family health to support the Surgeon General’s Performance Triad are of interest.

d. Environmental Health and Protection: This area of research area includes assessment and sustainment of health and the operational effectiveness of Warriors exposed to harsh operational environments including altitude, cold, heat, and exposure to environmental health hazards. In addition, this research includes development of policy, training, planning/management tools, materiel solutions, interventions and reset solutions, to sustain warrior resilience, health and operational effectiveness to environmental stressors; additional research identifies biomarkers of exposure to environmental health hazards and development of hand-held, fieldable devices for rapid identification of exposure effect biomarkers in bodily fluids in support of military operational requirements.

The MOMRP supports research toward solving critical problems facing the Army today and in the future. Service- and platform-specific issues are addressed through close coordination with Navy and Air Force counterparts to prevent duplication of effort.