2012 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Introduction by Brenda L. Mooney, Editorial Director, U.S. Medicine

Old soldiers never die, Never die, never die, Old soldiers never die They just fade away. From an old Army ballad made famous in a speech by Gen. Douglas MacArthur That song was sung proudly by troops at the turn… Read More

The Old-Old Under the Knife – VA Surgeons Research Treatment Options for Aging Cancer Patients

MINNEAPOLIS–Often, clinical research and resulting guidelines are based on studies of subjects much younger and healthier than typical patients. That is especially an issue at the VA which has an aging veteran population faced with cancer diagnoses late in life.… Read More

What Causes Rosacea? New VA-Led Studies Try to Find Out

By David Beasley DENVER– Rosacea, a skin condition that produces red facial splotches and sometimes disfiguration of the nose, doesn’t discriminate on the basis of fame. President Bill Clinton and the late actors Karl Malden and W. C. Fields all… Read More

Telemedicine Program Improving HCV Care for Rural Veterans

By Sandra Basu WEST HAVEN, CT — Twice-a-month online sessions hosted by the VA Connecticut Healthcare System are not typical telemedicine initiatives in which clinicians provide care to individual patients over electronic media. Instead, hepatitis C (HCV) specialists are training… Read More

Despite Convenience – IUDs Remain Underused in Military

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Although current versions of intrauterine devices (IUDs) are among the most-effective forms of birth control available, they remain underused in both the general population and among military women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists… Read More

To Plan for Future Care VA Must Assume TBI-Dementia Link

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON–The news that patients with TBI could have a higher risk of dementia later in life has reverberated far outside the veteran patient community where the research was conducted. With TBI accounting for 22% of casualties in… Read More

Strategies to Overcome Resistance and Get Diabetes Patients on Insulin Earlier

By Annette M. Boyle SAN DIEGO–Starting in 2010, the VA and DoD’s clinical practice guidelines recommended that clinicians add insulin therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus unable to meet HbA1c (A1c) goals with metformin and lifestyle modifications… Read More

VA Attacks HIV Transmission with Aggressive Treatment – Prophylaxis

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON–In 2009, only 9.2% of veterans in care had ever been tested for HIV. As of March 2012, 1.2 million veterans — 20% of the VA population — knew their serostatus. “Now, we identify 2,000 new… Read More

When Is Screening Excessive? Researchers Offer Some Practical Advice Amidst PSA Controversy

By Rachel Pomerance SAN FRANCISCO —The American Board of Internal Medicine, together with Consumer Reports, recently launched a public education campaign called “Choosing Wisely” to cut down on excessive medical procedures that might do patients more harm than good. The… Read More

VA’s Stroke Project Improves Care – Outpatient Follow-up Remains Challenging

By Stephen Spotswood INDIANAPOLIS, IN–While stroke is a debilitating condition that VA physicians deal with regularly, only very recently has there been a way for VA facilities to judge the quality of their stroke treatment.  A joint endeavor… Read More

Chronic Diseases Among Male Veterans Makes Treating MS Even More Complex

By David Beasley SEATTLE–Clinicians who treat the VA’s more than 30,000 multiple sclerosis patients face constant challenges in treating both the mysterious disease as well as the other chronic health conditions which tend to accompany it. “It is a disease… Read More

Preparing for the Next Pandemic – VA Enhances Flu Vaccination and Surveillance Programs

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON–Influenza attacks 5% to 20% of Americans and kills between 3,000 and 49,000 individuals in the average year. Annually, more than 225,000 people require hospitalization for the symptoms of seasonal influenza. The Department of Health and… Read More

More Accurate TB Blood Tests Replacing Old Skin Testing at VA

By Rachel Pomerance PALO ALTO, CA — As a physician with Stanford University’s emergency department and occupational health center, Wendy Thanassi, MD, got an early look at usage of Interferon-Gamma Release Assays (IGRA), revolutionary new blood tests that screen for… Read More

With Increase in Bipolar Patients the VA Tackles Medication Side Effect Issues

By Steve Lewis BOSTON–Headlines may focus on mental-health issues such as schizophrenia, often related to veteran homelessness or even violent behavior, but bipolar disorder actually is increasing far faster at the VA and can be especially challenging to treat because… Read More

Military Develops New Prosthetic Devices Controlled by Brain Signals

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Last fall, Tim Hemmes, a 30-year-old quadriplegic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) was able to control an advanced mechanical arm using nothing but his brain signals. Hemmes, paralyzed seven years earlier after… Read More