2018 Issues


June 2018

Veteran nephrologist labors to improve ESRD treatment at VA

When Terrence O’Neil, MD, retired as chief of nephrology at the James H. Quillen VAMC in Johnson City in December 2016, he left in his wake decades of work treating kidney disease—nearly 35 years in the Air Force and DoD, plus 11 more at VA.

June 2018

Committee approves bill to provide agent orange benefits to ‘blue water’ vets

A long sought-after bill that would make it easier for Blue Water Navy veterans to receive Agent Orange benefits has been passed by a key House of Representatives committee.

June 2018

DoD acknowledges its medical adverse event reporting is ‘unreliable’

The process for tracking the DoD’s most serious adverse medical events is “fragmented, impeding the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) ability to ensure that it has received complete information,” according to a new review.

June 2018

Regular CPAP use improves women’s sexual quality of life

SEATTLE — Long-term use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for obstructive sleep apnea improves a range of health markers including, for women, improvement in sexual quality of life. That’s according to an observational... View Article

June 2018

Underuse of CPAP, related problems more common with nonobese veterans

Low respiratory arousal threshold (ArTH) is common among veterans with obstructive sleep apnea and appears to be linked to underuse of CPAP therapy, according to a new study.

June 2018

Study identifies which veterans are at greatest risk for sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea (CSA) in veterans is associated with cardiovascular disorders, chronic prescription opioid use and increased hospital admissions related to those issues, according to a new study.

June 2018

New Agents Extend Options for Increased Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Accounting for nearly a third of all cancer diagnoses, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the VHA, where past research has suggested that the malignancy is caught earlier than in other healthcare systems.

June 2018

Personalized Medicine Brightens Outlook for Most Common Kidney Cancer

In the past five years, 10 new system therapies have been approved for renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common type of kidney cancer.

June 2018

Targeted Therapies Transform RCC Treatment Over Last Decade

In the last decade, the development of multiple molecular-targeted therapies has dramatically altered the treatment landscape for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

June 2018

VA Mental Health Experts Urge Intensive Pre-Enlistment Schizophrenia Screening

The most common age for diagnosis of schizophrenia is late teens to early 30s.

June 2018

Preventing, Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers Are Complex Challenges at VA

Some of the risks of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are well-known, including infection and, in the most severe cases, amputation.

June 2018

Liver Cancer Continues to Rise, Even as VA Declares Victory Over HCV Infection

In March, then-VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, announced at the annual Wharton Health Care Business Conference that the VA will have eliminated hepatitis C infections among all patients willing and able to be treated by next spring.

June 2018

MS in Gulf War Veterans: Zeroing-In on Types, Disability Levels

While veterans serving in the military during the Gulf War era (GWE) appear to have higher risk for multiple sclerosis and a range of neurological illnesses, little has been documented previously on prevalent types of MS or other clinical features.

June 2018

Undertreatment of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Treatment, Despite Guidelines

While many other cancers have seen dramatic improvement in outcomes in the past 20 years, pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest malignancies, regardless of stage at diagnosis, with an overall five-year survival rate of only 8%, according to the American Cancer Society.

June 2018

Amid Concerns, VA Says It Is ‘Turning a Corner’ on Cybersecurity

The management and upkeep of information technology structures has historically been a challenge for federal agencies.

June 2018

Evidence of CV Benefit Influences Diabetes Treatment Recommendations

In a significant change, the American Diabetes Association’s 2018 guidelines advocate use of a glucose-lowering agent with proven cardiovascular benefit or mortality reduction in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and co-morbid cardiovascular disease.

June 2018

Diabetes Prevalence Higher Among Veterans Than General Population

Overall prevalence of diabetes was 20% for the general U.S. population but nearly 25% for veterans, according to a recent study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

June 2018

Continuous Glucose Monitoring Highly Effective But Underused in Diabetes

Recent clinical studies have documented why continuous glucose monitors (CGM) can offer significant benefits to patients diagnosed with diabetes.

June 2018

DHA Adds New Weapons in the Military’s War on Obesity in Servicemembers

This spring, DoD took direct steps to counter a significant impediment to mission readiness—excessive weight among servicemembers.

June 2018

Obesity Is on the Rise in Veterans, Especially VHA Patients

Obesity is increasing among veterans, and the implications are potentially dire because the condition is associated with a range of serious health conditions, according to new research.

June 2018

Military Recruits from Some Southern States Have Lower Fitness, More Injuries

Military readiness and national security are threatened by high rates of obesity in some areas, with U.S. Army recruits from specific states having lower fitness and higher rates of injuries, according to a new study.

June 2018

Hepatitis C Declines Among Active Military; Highest Rates for Baby Boomers

New cases of acute and chronic hepatitis C (HCV) have dropped sharply among U.S. servicemembers since 2008, bucking the nationwide trend.

June 2018

Colonoscopy Linked to Lower CRC Mortality in Veterans

Colonoscopy is heavily promoted in the VA healthcare system, and a new study sought to document its effect on colorectal cancer (CRC) mortality rates.

June 2018

Adjuvant Chemotherapy Improves Survival in Rectal Cancer

The standard of care for locoregionally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) in the United States usually involves adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) following chemoradiation (CRT) and total mesorectal excision (TME).

June 2018

Weight, Not Diet, Associated With Higher Veteran Mortality From CRC

While suspected, the relationship between dietary and lifestyle risk factors and long-term mortality from colorectal cancer remains poorly understood, according to a new study.

June 2018

VAMCs Vary Greatly in Opioid Prescribing Practices

Pain care practices at VHA facilities vary widely, possibly contributing to veterans’ likelihood of using opioids.

June 2018

Navy Program Helps Injured Recruits Get Through Boot Camp

When Navy recruits have injuries preventing them from participating in intense physical conditioning, they usually are pulled out of boot camp training and receive treatment that includes daily physical therapy, pain medications and psychoeducational groups.

June 2018

Which Veterans Likeliest to Use Drug Alternatives for Pain?

Effectiveness of nonpharmacological pain treatment modalities (NPMs) is supported by strong evidence, but not enough is known about the prevalence or correlates of NPM use, according to a new study.

June 2018

Report: More Than 80% of VAMCs Provide High-Quality Mental Healthcare

A new report gave the VA high marks for the quality of mental health care provided to veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

June 2018

HCV Complications Rise in Women Veterans While Beginning Decline in Men

VA researchers expect complications from chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) in women veterans to continue to rise for a decade or longer after rates begin to decline in men.

June 2018

EMR Alert Helps Reduce Opioid/Benzodiazepine Co-Prescribing Risk at VAMCs

Since the launch of the Opioid Safety Initiative in 2012, the VA has implemented a number of steps designed to reduce the use of opioids and the risk of addiction and overdose among veterans.

June 2018

Bill to Streamline, Expand VA’s Choice Program Signed Into Law

Legislation that would streamline VA’s community care programs into one program and expand VA’s caregiver program to veterans of all eras was signed into law earlier this month..

June 2018

Despite Criticism, VA Healthcare as Good or Better Than Other Systems

The good news from a recent consultant study is that, overall, the VA healthcare system is generally equal or better than others when inpatient and outpatient quality is measured.

June 2018

VA Inks Contract for Massive New Health Record System

Calling it one of the largest IT contracts in the federal government, with a ceiling of $10 billion over a decade, then-VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie announced that the agency signed a contract with Cerner for its new electronic health record (EHR).

June 2018

Surprise! President Nominates Wilkie for Permanent VA Secretary

President Donald Trump said last month that acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie “has done an incredible job” and, in a surprise move, nominated him for the permanent Cabinet position.

June 2018

VA Care Not Timely in Early Lung Cancer; But Did It Matter?

Multiple organizations have recommended timely treatment for patients with lung cancer.

June 2018

Cabozantinib May Help Overcome Checkpoint Inhibitor Resistance in GU Cancers

The treatment armamentarium for renal cell carcinoma and other genitourinary cancers continues to expand.

June 2018

VA Study Indicates That Location Matters in Colon Cancer Survival

More than 95,000 Americans develop colon cancer, making it the third most common cancer in the U.S., excluding skin cancers.

June 2018

VA Develops, Validates Thromboembolism Risk Tool in Multiple Myeloma

While guidelines for multiple myeloma advise pharmacologic prophylaxis to prevent development of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in high-risk patients, current risk assessment tools differ in the factors considered indicative of high risk and in the patients determined to need preventive anticoagulation.

June 2018

Vaccine Shows Early Promise in Metastatic Melanoma

Researchers reported positive results today for phase IIb testing of a vaccine for high-risk melanoma patients.

June 2018

Therapy Combinations Were Safe, Active in Genitourinary Cancer Trials

Federal researchers reported updated results of trials of cabozantinib plus nivolumab with and without ipilimumab in patients with refractory metastatic urothelial carcinoma on Saturday at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

June 2018

Cabozantinib Improves Survival in Liver Cancer Regardless of Age

HOUSTON — For veterans with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), research presented today at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago offers encouraging the news. The study determined that a new tyrosine kinase... View Article

June 2018

Pulmonary Events Affect 30% of Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients Post-Chemo

Bleomycin, the first line standard of care for Hodgkin lymphoma causes pulmonary events in some patients, but physicians have been uncertain how many patients are affected and how long they remain at risk.

June 2018

VA Team Develops Reliable Measure of Cancer Drug Efficacy

Assessing tumor growth and regression to determine a treatment’s efficacy over time can be challenging on an individual basis.

June 2018

Common Vitamin Deficiency Increases Mortality Risk 80% in Cancer Patients

Vitamin D deficiency doesn’t just increase the risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders, it dramatically increases the risk of death in older cancer patients with solid tumors, according to researchers at the Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System in Temple, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

June 2018

Risk Predictor Guides Breast Cancer Treatment at MHS Facility

Physicians and patients want to do everything possible to minimize the risk of breast cancer recurrence without incurring unnecessary toxicity from chemotherapy.

June 2018

Test Accurately Predicts Overall Survival in Prostate Cancer

For the physicians treating men with non-metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer, knowing the risk of progression or death provides valuable information to guide the timing and selection of treatment.

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