December 2012

Joint Commission Honors 19 VAMCs and Four Army Facilities for Exemplary Performance

By Sandra Basu A patient at the William Dorn Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Columbia, SC, listens to a musical performance at the facility by the 208th Army Reserve Band from Concord, NC. — Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mark… Read More

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce

Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” – Karl Marx (1818-1883) Arguably, war and man’s increasing sophistication when it comes to harming one another are the least attractive attributes… Read More

Strict Federal Conference Limits Affect CME, Staying Current

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—In the wake of new federal conference oversight, the military medical services are navigating how to ensure that medical personnel can continue to receive vital continuing medical education and keep up with the latest advances in their… Read More

Vision Problems Not Always Diagnosed in Vets with TBI

By Brenda L. Mooney CHICAGO — More than 160,000 veterans treated by VA are considered legally blind, and another million have low vision that challenges daily activities. While VA has an extensive network of services for those beneficiaries, new studies… Read More

Howls of Protest Over No Assistance Dogs for PTSD Subhead: VA Refuses Funding

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – The use of trained dogs has been accepted therapy since the 1960s for persons with visual, hearing and mobility impairments. Only recently, however, have service dogs been trained to assist men and women suffering from… Read More

Widely-Used Citicoline Found to Be Ineffective in TBI Treatment

By Brenda L. Mooney BOSTON – A compound approved for treating traumatic brain injury (TBI) in nearly 60 countries does not appear to approve function or cognitive status in patients, according to a new study. The report was on a… Read More

New Early Lung Cancer Screening Program Seeks to Save Veterans’ Lives

Former Military Personnel at Higher Risk By Sandra Basu Vietnam veteran Thomas Murphy, one of the guest speaker at a kick-off ceremony for a lung cancer screening program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Nov. 8, is a… Read More

Lack of Sleep Is Part of Triad That Challenges Army Medicine

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Sleep is part of the prescription when it comes to improving the health of troops and families, according to the Army Surgeon General. “When you look at a lot of studies that are out there,… Read More

Heavy Use of Energy Drinks Blamed for Some Military Sleep Problems

By Brenda L. Mooney SILVER SPRING, MD — High consumption of energy drinks could be leading to sleep problems for deployed troops, potentially impairing military performance, according to a new study from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. More… Read More

Data Not Available to Determine Success of Initial VA, DoD Joint Healthcare Facility

By Stephen Spotswood CHICAGO — If VA and DoD expect to use the Lovell Federal Healthcare Center (FHCC) in Chicago as a blueprint for future joint facility integration projects, the departments will need to develop some kind of way to… Read More

Proposed Online Application Would Help MHS Beneficiaries Determine Their Risks

WASHINGTON -DoD hopes to roll out by 2014 an application that would help servicemembers avoid chronic conditions, while lowering overall medical costs. A recent Federal Business Opportunities announcement said the feature, which would be available through a patient portal, would… Read More

Physician Overcomes TBI to Return to Active-Duty Medicine

By Steve Lewis Lt. Col. Eric Holt returned to medical practice against all odds after suffering a traumatic brain injury. BETHESDA, MD – It never occurred to Lt. Col. Eric Holt, DO, that he wouldn’t fully recover from the multiple… Read More

DoD/FDA Program Seeks to Extend Lives of Expired Medications

By Annette M. Boyle A worker at FDA’s Detroit District Laboratory, which is one of three facilities supporting the DoD Shelf Life Extension Program. FORT DETRICK, MD – Far from expiring in the one to five years stated on their… Read More

HIV Patients Appear to Age More Rapidly; Researchers Want to Know Why That Is

By Annette M. Boyle WEST HAVEN, CT – The median age of the 24,000 veterans with HIV receiving care at the VA today is 53 — and many look and feel far older. The loss of muscle mass in the… Read More

VA Seeks to Increase Low Hepatitis C Treatment Rate for HIV Positive Patients

By Annette M. Boyle LOS ANGELES – Nearly 40% of veterans receiving antiretroviral therapy for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection also have hepatitis C virus (HCV), yet many of them never are treated for the underlying condition. Patients often are… Read More

Military Provides Critical Assistance in Aftermath of Massive Storm Sandy

By Sandra Basu Pfc. Ashley Dusack, water treatment specialist, 401st Quartermaster Detachment, Lock Haven, PA, uses a shovel found in a debris pile to push water out of a backyard in Breezy Point, NY, in mid-November. — Photo by Maj.… Read More

VA’s Manhattan Facility Damaged by Flooding from Massive Storm Sandy

By Sandra Basu VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki visited Manhattan-area facilities in the aftermath of the storm. Washington – Hurricane Sandy, when it hit the northeast in October took a huge toll on the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System’s… Read More

Hyperbaric Oxygen Provides No mild TBI Symptom Relief at Specific Pressure Tested

Researchers Call for Larger Studies at Lower Oxygen Doses By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – The use of hyperbaric oxygen to improve mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) resulted in no symptom relief at the exposure pressure tested, according to a new… Read More

Offering ‘Wide Access’ to Joint Pathology Center Will Benefit Research, IoM Says

By Sandra Basu Samples being filed at the Joint Pathology Center. WASHINGTON – An expert group is recommending that the Joint Pathology Center permit “wide access” to the world-renowned tissue repository. The JPC officially opened last year to serve as… Read More

Eligible Veterans Urged to Get Agent Orange Registry Exams

U.S. Army armored personnel carrier (APC) spraying Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. WASHINGTON -The VA is urging Vietnam-era veterans, regardless of current health status, to get Agent Orange Registry health examinations. The exams, arranged through a VA environmental health… Read More