Late Breaking News
Archive for May 19th 2011
Working against significant odds to develop a highly-protective vaccine against a parasitic disease, military researchers are seeking to prevent malaria, which kills as many as a million people a year around the world. The Army and Navy combined their malaria programs in 2007 to focus on the task with the goal of finding a vaccine with an 80% or higher protection rate for troops. The military research also benefits the population at large, with one discovery now in Phase III trials for a vaccine to protect infants in Africa.
Menopause once was a barrier to women reaching the top ranks of the military because of concerns it could cause “irrational decisions.” Those attitudes have changed, with more than 200,000 women in active duty and more than 50 of them serving as generals and admirals. To better serve their needs, military medicine and VA are taking a close look at women’s health services, including menopause, as the female cohort grows older.
The introduction of extended-use combination oral contraceptives (COCs) in the last decade has helped many women accept the concept of avoiding a monthly bleed and reducing their menstrual periods and withdrawal bleeds to a few times per year. This search for fewer or no periods has also led to the continual use of COCs to suppress menstruation for extended periods of time. Could menstrual suppression be a useful alternative for women in the military, especially those who are deployed and have difficulty managing monthly blood flow?
Nearly everything about multiple sclerosis remains a mystery—its pathology, its unpredictable severity in some patients and its myriad symptoms. In an effort to provide as much information as possible to sufferers, VA’s MS Centers of Excellence research the best use of current medications while searching for new treatment methods.
Rates of herpes zoster have nearly doubled among veterans seeking care through the VA since 2000. The disease, also known as shingles, creates significant morbidity, especially when herpetic neuralgia, a painful complication, is involved. Yet, use of the vaccine, introduced in 2007, remains low at about 2% in both the VA and general populations.
The use of morphine and other opioid medications represented a major medical breakthrough for combat trauma pain when first used as battlefield anesthesia in the 19th century. Still widely-used today, opioids successfully manage pain but also create significant side-effects that can increase morbidity and mortality, especially in patients recovering from wounds. Now, with an advanced understanding of the mechanisms of pain, novel technologies and a commitment to consistent pain management, military medicine is revolutionizing the way it treats wounded warriors and others in its system.
Of the three-fourths of homeless veterans that suffer from alcohol, drug or mental health problems, those who are schizophrenic are among the most difficult to treat. Not only does lack of housing complicate medical care, but many of the patients lack insight about their situation. Now, VA is fine-tuning programs to find homes for these troubled veterans, improve their medical care and keep them out of legal trouble.
Most Popular Stories
- Many Healthcare Providers Lose VA Retention Bonuses
- Federal Medicine Organizational Meetings — Tarred with the Same Brush?
- Despite Formulary, High-Cost Diabetes Drug Use Varies Widely Across VA Facilities
- Report Says Administration Faces Hard Choices For Veterans Programs
- Physician Overcomes TBI to Return to Active-Duty Medicine
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