October 2012

Army, NFL Team Up in Offensive Against Traumatic Brain Injury

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Only days before the opening game of the NFL season, the NFL and Army announced they were teaming up to raise awareness about TBI, an injury that plagues both organizations. On Aug. 30, Army Chief… Read More

Front-Line Clinicians Get Practical Advice To Help Combat Military Suicides

By Brenda L. Mooney ROCHESTER, MN — With sweeping new initiatives from the White House and elsewhere in response to the burgeoning military suicide rate, little guidance has been offered to the clinicians in the trenches who are best positioned… Read More

Robotic Exoskeletons Allow Paralyzed Veterans to Exercise, Reduce Sedentary Effects

By Stephen Spotswood New York  — For veterans suffering from paralysis due to a spinal-cord injury (SCI), the inability to move a significant portion of their body is the obvious, immediate concern. Over the long-term, however, the extreme sedentary lifestyle… Read More

There are two kinds of fools: those who can’t change their opinions and those who won’t

“There are two kinds of fools: those who can’t change their opinions and those who won’t.” – Josh Billings (1818-1885) Newly retired Air Force colonel and columnist, Harriet Hall MD, also known as the “The SkepDoc,” recently published an article… Read More

VA Veterans Crisis Line Increasing Capacity 50% by End of Year

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In response to an executive order signed by President Barack Obama, VA will increase the capacity of its VA Veterans Crisis Line by 50% by the end of the year. It’s one of several initiatives… Read More

VA’s MOVE! Initiative Plagued by Lack of Participation

Annette M. Boyle SEATTLE — When it comes to weight loss, you have to play to lose — or at least that’s the conclusion of a study of the MOVE! Weight Loss Management Program for Veterans recently published in Preventing… Read More

VA Telerehab Program Improves Post-Stroke Functioning

Participating in a home telerehabilitation program improves lower-body physical functioning after a stroke, as well as increasing the likelihood of maintaining a regular fitness routine, enhancing money-management skills and improving the capability to prepare meals and take care of personal… Read More

Chicago IT Intergration Issues Help Create Future Roadmap for DoD/VA Collaboration

By Stephen Spotswood CHICAGO — A government report shows that delays in integrating VA and DoD IT systems at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) in Chicago have proven costly for the jointly-run facility. VA officials responded,… Read More

No Longer Just a Horse Drug, Ketamine Increasingly Used for Military Pain Management

Annette M. Boyle ROCKVILLE, MD — Morphine has met its match — and then some. After 200 years as the gold standard in battlefield analgesia, morphine is increasingly giving way to ketamine, a phencyclidine (PCP) derivative initially used in veterinary… Read More

Ketamine Resets System for Normal Pain Processing in Complex Syndrome Patients

By Annette M. Boyle BETHESDA, MD — For patients with intractable complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), treatment with high doses of ketamine may offer a cure or dramatically reduce pain and improve functioning. Better still, this innovative treatment soon might… Read More

Triple Therapy for Hepatitis C: High Cure Rate, Greater Risks

Annette M. Boyle LOS ANGELES — The approval last year of the first new drugs for treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) in 20 years substantially increased the rate of virologic cure for patients with the most common form of the… Read More

General: Decision to Delay Afghan Hospital Investigation Not Political

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Politics played no role in the timing of a request to investigate corruption and patient neglect at a U.S. funded hospital in Afghanistan, a U.S. general told Congress. Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV made an… Read More

Construction of New Orlando VAMC Still Bogged Down; Legislators Call for Action

By Sandra Basu ORLANDO, FL — After four years of construction on a new state-of-the-art VA Orlando Medical Center, lawmakers want to know why the VA and the contractor still cannot agree on a delivery date for the new facility.… Read More

TRICARE Limits Autism Coverage, Classifies Popular Therapy as Educational

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Is a commonly used autism therapy a medical or educational intervention? TRICARE’s position on that issue continues to be controversial among some advocates and beneficiary families.         Earlier this year, the U.S Office of Personnel Management… Read More

VA Researcher Draws on Co-Workers’ Strength to Win Olympic Bronze Medal

By Steve Lewis BEDFORD, MA — Natalie Dell, MPH, a project coordinator for mental-health studies focusing on depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, has served VA since completing graduate school in 2009. In her spare time, the researcher at… Read More

Cancer Treatment Too Often Determined by Age

Age, not overall health or prognosis, plays too large a role in determining what patients get cancer treatment, according to a new study from the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco. The study focused… Read More

VA Conference Spending Raises Questions; Investigators Seek Answers

WASHINGTON — Training human resources personnel to recruit, train and retain medical professionals and other personnel is critical to VA’s mission, but has the agency gone overboard in spending on HR training conferences? Amid intense media coverage and public scrutiny,… Read More