May 2012

Designing a Better EMR to Combat Providers’ Medication Alert Fatigue

By Stephen Spotswood INDIANAPOLIS, IN — While the medication alerts, automated reminders and warnings that pop up in electronic medical records (EMRs) improve patient care in theory, reality can be quite different: Alerts may be viewed as unhelpful noise… Read More

Air Force Gets New Instruments to Test for Synthetic Marijuana

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Two new instruments recently purchased by the Air Force will allow it to test as many as 3,000 servicemembers a month for use of a synthetic marijuana product that can not only affect military… Read More

New Scanning Technology Could Pinpoint TBI Injuries and Aid Recovery

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — New technology could allow clinicians to determine precisely what brain functionality has been lost after traumatic brain injury,  according to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and funded by the… Read More

Education is a Better Safeguard of Liberty than a Standing Army

“Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” — Edward Everett (1794-1865) Since 2001, I have had the good fortune to serve as the leader of the Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, Rockville,… Read More

Enhanced Court-Martial Process Targets Sexual Predators in Military

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — All branches of military service now are mandated to set up special units to investigate allegations of sexual assault crimes, which will go through a dedicated court-martial process. That was among a number of new… Read More

Servicemembers Lose Benefits after Improper Discharges for Alleged Personality Disorders

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — The U.S. military continues to use improper processes to diagnose significant numbers of servicemembers with pre-existing personality disorders (PD) and then discharge them, according to government documents obtained by an advocacy group. The Vietnam Veterans… Read More

House Subcommittee Questions Proposed TRICARE Fee Increases

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Proposed increases to TRICARE fees are drawing fire once again from beneficiary groups and members of Congress. As part of a strategy to control healthcare costs, the Obama administration has proposed fee increases for TRICARE… Read More

Army Drug-Testing Chief Wants to Keep Soldiers Out of Harm’s Way

By Steve Lewis FORT KNOX, KY — For Lt. Col. Shaun Bailey, his work as chief of the drug testing branch at the Army Center for Substance Abuse Programs is part of a mission that has inspired his military career.… Read More

Prostate Cancer Update

Metformin/Statin Combination Lowers Prostate Cancer Risk The combination of metformin and statins appears to significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer in veterans with type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study.1 In the study, published in the journal Diabetes… Read More

New Medications and Technology Advances Significantly Change VA’s BPH Treatment

By Annette M. Boyle GAINESVILLE, FL — Treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the fourth most common diagnosis among VA patients over 50 years old, has changed radically in the last 15 years, with better management and medications making surgery… Read More

Technology Offers Promise of Preventing and Repairing Dreaded Genitourinary Injuries

By Annette M. Boyle Since a report last year of the Army Dismounted Complex Blast Injury Task Force documented a sharp increase in the number of genitourinary (GU) injuries among U.S. warriors in Afghanistan, the DoD has taken several steps… Read More

Obesity Studies Update

VA-funded Study: Intervention Improves Diabetes Health Type 2 diabetes patients can improve their mobility significantly by participating in an intensive lifestyle program to both lower weight and improve fitness.  That is according to a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial funded by… Read More

Contractor Provides Congress Inside Information on VA Construction Delay

By Stephen Spotswood      WASHINGTON — VA is known for going beyond deadline and over budget on hospital building projects, leaving patients and medical staffers wondering when they will get the modern medical center they were promised. It was not until… Read More

Virtual Reality Is No Game for PTSD Patients Reliving Traumatic Events

Editor’s Note: U.S. Medicine writer Annette Boyle recently took an inside tour of the virtual reality program that has shown promise in helping veterans who suffer from PTSD. Here is her account. ATLANTA — It might look like a game,… Read More

Can Virtual Reality Help Veterans Avoid As Well As Recover from PTSD?

By Stephen Spotswood  BETHESDA, MD — Research rooted in treating trauma in the civilian sector is examining how a combination of pharmaceuticals and virtual reality can help combat veterans recover more swiftly from chronic PTSD. Barbara Rothbaum, PhD, director of… Read More

VA Study – Stress Can Increase Inflammation and Worsen Cardiovascular Disease in Patients

By Stephen Spotswood SAN FRANCISCO — New VA research suggests that lifetime exposure to stressful events, such as those which cause PTSD, is linked to greater levels of inflammation in patients with cardiovascular (CV) disease. Higher inflammation generally leads to… Read More

Programs Paid to Provide Housing and Services to Homeless Veterans Falling Short of Mission

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON–Many of the VA-funded providers of housing and services to homeless veterans  fail to meet even the basic needs of the population they are meant to service, according to an audit by VA’s Office of Inspector General… Read More

Revived Adenovirus Vaccine Program Is Paying Off for DoD

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON  — The military’s restored program to vaccinate troops with the adenovirus vaccine appears to be paying off, a new study suggests. After a 12-year hiatus, the military began in October 2011 to vaccinate military trainees with… Read More