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Health and well-being management in the military: a systematic review of genetic studies


Background Genetic research may have therapeutic value for mental and physical disorders and could have an indicative or preventative capacity. Little is known about the extent, form and utility of military-specific genetic research.

Method A systematic review was conducted to evaluate existing genetic well-being studies of service personnel. The review specifically aimed to ascertain the current state of knowledge and feasibility of using genetics to aid recruitment and health management within military populations. Databases searched included MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO and Web of Science for relevant studies. Papers were rated using a genetics-specific quality assessment framework.

Results Ten papers were included within the final review, with seven mental-health-focused and three physical-health-focused genetic studies found within military populations. Eight papers considered candidate genes, one gene expression and one study was an outline of a future study of significant interest. Genetic commonalties were derived to yield shared physiological pathways. The 10 reviewed papers revealed moderate quality based on quality assessment.

Conclusions Current genetic research within military populations is limited. Further studies on genetics, cost effectiveness, ethics and continual monitoring need to be explored before considering any movement toward clinical translation.

  • genetic
  • occupational
  • review
  • military
  • health

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