July 2011

God is in the details

“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Miles van der Rohe (1886-1969) I recently took a two-week cruising vacation with my family on our sailboat “Family Knot” (Gemini 105Mc). Our goal was to circumnavigate the Delmarva Peninsula, the large East… Read More

Sexually-Transmitted Diseases Rise Among Deployed Troops, In Line with Civilian Rates

WASHINGTON — Sexually-transmitted diseases are on the rise in troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study which recommends more screening and health education. Gonorrhea rates ranged from 5 per 100,000 deployed personnel in 2005 to 17.6 per… Read More

Congress Considers Renewed Funding for Difficult Task of Preparing for Unanticipated Health Threats

Nicole Lurie, MD, assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response testified at a Senate hearing last month. WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials can prepare for all manner of health threats — biological, radiological, chemical or nuclear — but it… Read More

Physical Ailments Begin Immediately After Deployment in Young Veterans with PTSD, Substance Abuse Disorders

WASHINGTON — Young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are diagnosed with PTSD or substance-use disorders (SUD) are more likely to suffer from a host of physical ailments, particularly musculoskeletal disorders, according to study data recently released by VA… Read More

Psychiatric Care Provided in Theater Seeks to Contain Mental Health Issues

WASHINGTON — Mental health providers interviewed every single member of a 900-plus member Marine battalion that had sustained heavy losses in Afghanistan, as part of their reintegration upon return from deployment. While the effort to interview every member was… Read More

Who Is More Likely to Develop PTSD? Women Have More Sexual Trauma; Men Have Greater Combat Exposure

Paula P. Schnurr, Ph.D. The ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are enabling researchers to learn more about a question that has plagued them for decades: Is there a difference between men and women who serve in the military… Read More

Study Seeks Strategies to Help Mothers Maintain Family Relationships During Deployment

WASHINGTON — How are military women who deploy to theater handling separation from their children? With a grant from DoD’s TriService Nursing Research Program, Janice Griffin Agazio, PhD, CNRP, RN, assistant professor of nursing at The Catholic University of America,… Read More

Unplanned Pregnancies Among Deployed Women Affect More Than Mother and Child; Troop Readiness at Issue

Unintended pregnancies among deployed women in the U.S. Armed Forces create not only a significant challenge for the mother-to-be but also can impact troop morale and readiness, according to the author of a new study who says that medical counseling… Read More

Coordination, Quality Focus Makes VA Cancer Care as Good or Better than Private Sector

WASHINGTON — VA oncology care was found to be some of the best in the nation, according to a new study looking at older men treated for cancer at VA facilities. The study compared treatment at VA with non-VA hospitals… Read More

Increased Screening Might Explain Higher Prostate Cancer Rates in Air Force Personnel

While the rate of prostate-cancer diagnoses in active-duty servicemen has increased over time, higher rates of screening may be responsible, not a greater incidence of disease, according to a new study.1  “We started annual health screening for all Air Force… Read More

GAO Report: Senior Leadership Uninformed About Most Sexual Assaults in VA Facilities

WASHINGTON — Last month,  Marine Corps veteran Robert Stahlnecker stood before a District Judge in Plains Township, Pa., and waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of harassing female employees at the VA regional office in Philadelphia. That… Read More

Congress Asks: In Wake of Court Ruling, Should VA Do More to Push Troubled Veterans Into Treatment?

WASHINGTON — Does VA need to employ more aggressive tactics when it comes to getting veterans struggling with PTSD, depression and s ubstance abuse into treatment?  Should some of those tactics involve using disability benefits as an incentive to receive… Read More

Program Effective in MS Patients Now Used to Improve Memory in TBI Sufferers

Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD WASHINGTON — Exercises that have proven effective in improving the cognitive skills of multiple sclerosis patients also may be useful in treating symptoms of TBI. Researchers using a memory-rehabilitation tool that has helped MS patients… Read More

Nurse Officer-in-Charge at Madigan Thrives on Emergency Department Challenges

WASHINGTON — The hustle and bustle of an emergency department may not appeal to everyone, but it is where Army Maj. Katherine E. Frost, AN, clinical nurse officer-in-charge of Madigan Army Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine feels at home.… Read More

Military Hopes mTBI Care Will Be Improved by On-site MRIs in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — Currently, when troops in Afghanistan suffer a head injury and require magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they generally must be flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. That ordeal may be keeping some servicemembers from reporting symptoms and… Read More

Study: High Combat Activity Producing Epidemic of Acute Stress in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — Acute stress is rampant among troops in Afghanistan who are experiencing “a dramatic increase” in the levels of combat activity, according to a recent study. The study found that stress and combat activity were significantly higher than levels… Read More

With the Majority of Military Pregnancies Unintended, Abortion Issue Raised Again in Congress

WASHINGTON — With more than half of all pregnancies unintended among female troops, the explosive issue of abortions is again being reviewed by Congress. In the latest salvo in that ongoing battle, New York’s Rep. Louise Slaughter and Sen. Kirsten… Read More

New Study Seeks to Quantify Association Between Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune, Health Effects

WASHINGTON — When Mike Partain got the news from his doctor in 2007 that he had male breast cancer, he was shocked. There was no history of breast cancer in his family and certainly not among men. “I am 6… Read More

Wait Times Heading in Wrong Direction in New Integrated Disability System; VA Blames ‘Transition Difficulties’

WASHINGTON — “Seamless transition” has become a buzzword for change within VA and DoD, referring to the handing over of servicemembers into VA care without an interruption in care. One of the most frustrating barriers to that goal has been… Read More

PTSD Independent Risk Factor for Heart Disease, Doubles Veterans’ Risk of Dying from Any Cause

PTSD more than doubles a veteran’s risk of death from any cause and is an independent risk factor for heart disease, according to VA researchers.1 Researchers based out of the Greater Los Angeles VA studied the medical records of… Read More