February 2012

New Eye Centers Goal is Vision Rehabilitation and Restoration for Injured Troops

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Eye wounds are devastating for deployed troops, and the past decade’s conflicts have created ample opportunities for that type of injury, with the prevalence of explosive devices, projectiles, chemicals, biohazards, lasers and extreme environmental… Read More

Montana VA Program Replaces Insulin Syringes with Pens to Increase Compliance

By Annette M. Boyle FORT HARRISON, MT — For some veterans, “insulin resistance” is not only a physiological condition, it is a state of mind — one the VA Montana Healthcare System in Fort Harrison hopes to overcome with a… Read More

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them

I recently learned through the evening news that a Dutch scientist, Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands, has genetically engineered a deadly form of the H5N1 bird flu virus into an easily transmissible form that has the… Read More

Studies Look at Combat Effects on Female Troops and Healthcare Providers

Several recently released studies conducted by a number of federal agencies examine the effects of combat on women, who now make up 15% of American military forces. As military healthcare providers see more frontline action, increased attention is being given… Read More

Report Prompted by Fort Hood Shooting Calls DoD Physician Credentialing Inadequate

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Reporting the results of an investigation begun after an Army physician opened fire and shot more than 40 people at Fort Hood in 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the military services need to… Read More

Claims Deadline Extended for Undiagnosed Gulf War Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Continuing a pattern of easing the way for Gulf War veterans to seek care and compensation, VA has extended the presumptive period for them to file claims for benefits for previously undiagnosed illnesses. The change… Read More

Continuing Afghanistan Conflict More Severe Injuries Keep Landstuhl Busy

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — On Dec. 27, when the U.S. military was only two days away from completing its pullout of troops of Iraq, came casualty reports from Afghanistan, a stark reminder of the war still being fought: Three… Read More

Prescribing Employment VA Program Helps Disabled Vets Get A Job

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Work therapy has been a part of VA rehabilitative programs for decades, but only since 1984 has it been codified under a national clinical initiative. With the return of the latest generation of veterans, who… Read More

Medical Colleges Pledge to Improve Training for Care of Military and Veterans

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Servicemembers who suffer from PTSD or other medical problems often seek treatment outside the military and veterans’ healthcare systems when they return from deployment. Civilian providers do not always have the expertise to provide optimal… Read More

Study Looks at Usability of VA’s Personal Health Record System

INDIANAPOLIS — The VA’s My HealtheVet is not only the most widely disseminated personal health record system in the United States, it also is likely to become the model for such systems nationwide. That’s why researchers are so interested… Read More

Veterans in Cities More Likely to Use New HIV Drugs

Veterans in Cities More Likely to Use New HIV Drugs Urban veterans with HIV may be more likely than their rural counterparts to be early adopters of new HIV therapies, a recent study suggests.1 For the study, researchers in Iowa… Read More

Wounded Physician Heals Himself and Uses Experience to Help Other Veterans

By Steve Lewis MILWAUKEE — The old saw goes, “Physician health thyself,” but for Ken Lee, MD, chief of the Spinal Cord Injury Division at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, one could add: “And use what you have learned in… Read More

VA Seeks to Increase Flu Vaccine Rates for Healthcare Staff after Last Year’s Drop

By Annette M. Boyle After recorded seasonal influenza vaccination rates among VHA healthcare personnel plummeted 21% last year compared with 2009-2010, the agency has set an aggressive goal of vaccinating 85% of healthcare workers during the 2011-2012 flu season.… Read More

Military Winning Iraqibacter Battle But War on Resistant Organisms Continues

By Brenda L. Mooney Even after they are safely transported for medical treatment far from the combat zone, wounded servicemembers face powerful adversaries: multidrug-resistant organisms, which pose a greater risk to today’s injured servicemembers than those of past wars.… Read More

Multiple Factors Spur Big Increases in TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy Usage

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Last year, a “perfect storm” seemed to result in more prescriptions filled by TRICARE’s mail-order pharmacy, and Chief of Pharmaceutical Operations Rear Adm. Thomas McGinnis said he hopes the trend will continue in 2012. Rear… Read More

Legislation Introduced to Help FDA Prevent and Control Drug Shortages

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Unless FDA knows of a potential drug shortage in advance, the agency is not very effective in preventing or controlling that shortage, according to a recent government report. The agency also has failed to keep… Read More

Marijuana Use Spikes Among Teens but Cigarette Smoking and Drinking Decline

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — A new survey of teen drug use shows that, while alcohol use continues its long-term decline, marijuana use has surprisingly spiked, suggesting a changing attitude among teens about the dangers of its regular use. The… Read More

Flu Research Sparks Debate About Bioterrorism and Government Control

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — In an unprecedented move, a federal panel has asked scientists and science journals to curtail the publication of research into avian flu (H5N1). The request has led to heated discussions among the scientific community and… Read More

Catalyst for Healing- Writing Helps Returning Troops Deal with Experiences

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In 2006, Ron Capps was on his third combat deployment when he took a 9-millimeter pistol and drove out to the desert in Darfur. He said he was prepared to kill himself but was interrupted… Read More

Caffeine Shows Promise in Saving Lives of Brain Injured

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — The common chemical stimulant available in a cup of coffee or some soft drinks may hold promise for saving the lives of brain-injured troops. A recent preliminary study published in the journal Experimental Neurology suggests… Read More