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Environmental Risk Factors for Myositis in Military Personnel

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified November 2016 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) ) Identifier:
First received: November 22, 2012
Last updated: November 22, 2016
Last verified: November 2016


  • Myositis is a rare disease in which the body s immune cells attack the muscle tissue. It can cause muscle weakness, swelling, and pain. It can develop in people with no history of muscle problems. Environmental exposures may determine who develops myositis. Genes may also affect development of the disease.
  • Some people who serve in the military develop myositis. However, other military personnel do not. Researchers want to compare military personnel with and without myositis. They will look for common factors that might have led to the disease.


- To study environmental risk factors for myositis in military personnel.


  • Military personnel who developed myositis during their period of service.
  • Healthy military personnel who do not have myositis or another autoimmune disease.


  • Participants will have a physical exam and medical history.
  • Participants will fill out forms about environmental exposures, particularly while in the military. The questions will ask about past infections, vaccines and medications, and personal habits. They will also ask about participants occupations during military service and their deployments.
  • Participants will also provide blood samples for study.
  • No treatment will be provided as part of this study.

Adult Polymyositis
Inclusion Body Myositis

Study Type: Observational
Official Title: Environmental Risk Factors for the Development of Myositis in Military Personnel

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Military Myositis Questionnaire [ Time Frame: Time of enrollment ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 300
Study Start Date: October 2012
Estimated Study Completion Date: September 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date: September 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:
Myositis, an autoimmune muscle disease, likely develops as a result of environmental exposures in genetically susceptible persons. Preliminary data suggest a trend for an increasing incidence in myositis in military personnel over the last decade for unknown reasons. Although a few environmental exposures have been preliminarily associated with myositis in the civilian population, these have not been confirmed. In addition, no study has assessed exposures that might result in the development of myositis in military personnel. Military personnel experience a number of intense, unique exposures, often over a relatively short interval, which include different stresses, novel vaccines, distinct occupational exposures, battlefield injuries and unique chemicals during field deployment, that differ from those exposures in non-military populations. Therefore, we propose a protocol that consists of three complementary approaches to attempt to determine the environmental factors associated with the development of myositis in active duty military personnel and an initial understanding of the possible mechanisms involved. In the first approach, we will assess risk factors in a case-control study of 300 patients who developed myositis while on active duty by comparing them to 1500 active duty military personnel (randomly selected, but matched 5:1 by gender, race, and age and military service within 10 years) who have not been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or chronic muscle disease. For this first approach, we will analyze existing military databases for information on medications, vaccines, infections, co-existing medical conditions, military occupations, deployments, and worldwide active duty locations. In the second case-control approach, we will attempt to define environmental factors associated with the development of myositis that developed in military personnel (n=150) by comparing them to 150 similarly matched military personnel who have not been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or chronic muscle disease. This second approach will differ from the first approach, in that subjects will be prospectively enrolled and assessed during a single clinic visit to confirm diagnoses and examine patient questionnaires on focused environmental exposures, including those not captured in the military databases. A third laboratory approach will identify, in an exploratory study, the global DNA methylation epigenetic changes, microRNA and mRNA profiles in peripheral blood and muscle tissues from 18 subjects (six PM and six DM compared to six non-myositis controls enrolled in the second approach) and assess the effects of selected environmental exposures on these parameters. These complementary approaches should enhance the understanding of environmental factors and possible mechanisms associated with the development of myositis in the military, and provide insights into environmental risk factors that may also be relevant to the development of myositis in non-military populations.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 90 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

For Aim 1 of the study:

The inclusion criteria for myositis subjects are:

-Diagnosis of PM, DM or IBM during military service. Subjects may be active duty or no longer active duty personnel. A matrix diagnosis of myositis will be based on ICD-9 codes, laboratory tests and medical records in an attempt to match criteria for probable or definite PM, DM or IBM

The inclusion criteria for matched control subjects are:

-The same gender, race, age within 10 years, and service in the military within 10 years as the myositis subject.

The exclusion criteria for control subjects are:

-A matrix diagnosis of autoimmune or chronic muscle disease based on ICD-9 codes and medical records.

For Aims 2 and 3 of the study:

The inclusion criteria for enrollment of myositis subjects are:

  • Diagnosis of myositis during military service based on criteria for probable or definite PM or DM, or clinically or pathologically defined or possible IBM. Subjects may be active duty or no longer active duty personnel.
  • Able and willing to give informed consent, to complete the questionnaires and to donate blood samples.

The inclusion criteria for matched controls are:

  • Persons with military experience attending the same clinic or hospital as the myositis subject to which they are matched, or if not available, volunteers from the general community (such as other participating military or VA hospitals, private HCPs, or the NIH Normal volunteer program), gender- race- and age- (within 10 years) and military service period (within 10 years) matched to the myositis subject.
  • Controls should be without a recognized autoimmune or chronic muscle disease, able and willing to give informed consent, to complete the questionnaires and to donate blood samples.

The exclusion criteria for all protocol subjects are:

  • Medical illness that in the judgment of the investigators does not allow safe blood draws or other clinical evaluations needed for study participation.
  • Chronic muscle diseases other than idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (i.e. infectious, dystrophic, metabolic, toxic or drug-induced myopathies).
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Not able or willing to give informed consent.
  • Age <18 years.
  • Current incarceration

There are no gender or ethnic restrictions to enrollment in the study.

HIV is not an exclusion for this study for the two following reasons:

  • It has no impact on study procedures or tests.
  • HIV may be one of the viral risk factors we are investigating.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01734369

Contact: Komal B Patel (301) 443-6053

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office (PRPL)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Principal Investigator: Frederick W Miller, M.D. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Identifier: NCT01734369     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 130015  13-E-0015 
Study First Received: November 22, 2012
Last Updated: November 22, 2016
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Inclusion Body Myositis

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Myositis, Inclusion Body
Muscular Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Neuromuscular Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Connective Tissue Diseases
Skin Diseases processed this record on December 09, 2016