August 2013

Because that’s where the money is

“Because that’s where the money is.” William “Willie” Sutton (1901-1980) William “Willie” Sutton (1901-1980) was an infamous bank robber who stole an estimated $2 million dollars during a 40-year crime career. When asked by a reporter why he robbed banks,… Read More

New Research Shows Increased Cardiovascular Risks for TBI, PTSD Patients

By Brenda L. Mooney ANN ARBOR, MI – New research on short- and long-term cardiovascular risks from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could present significant challenges for the VA and the Military Health System. More than… Read More

New Procedures for Navy Pharmacy Save More than $35 Million, Improve Care

By Annette M. Boyle Capt. Edward C. Norton, MSC, pharmacy specialty leader for U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery FALLS CHURCH, VA — After saving $22 million in Phase One, the Navy Pharmacy Financial Improvement Program has expanded from… Read More

New Therapies Approved for Metastatic, Unresectable Melanoma

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Two new therapies, Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib), have been approved for patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Tafinlar, a BRAF inhibitor, is approved to treat patients with… Read More

First A1c Test Approved for Diagnosing Diabetes

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing marketing of an HbA1c test specifically for diagnosing diabetes. Approval was given for the Cobas Integra 800 Tina-quant HbA1cDx assay (Tina-quant HbA1cDx assay), manufactured by… Read More

Antibiotic Vibativ Now Approved for Treating HABP/VABP

SAN FRANCISCO – The antibiotic Vibativ (telavancin) is now approved to treat patients with hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (HABP/VABP) caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Vibativ should be used for the treatment of HABP/VABP only when alternative treatments are not suitable,… Read More

Gulf War Illness Can Affect Different Brain Regions

WASHINGTON — Gulf War illness may have two distinct forms, depending on which brain regions have atrophied. That could help explain why clinicians encounter veterans with different symptoms and complaints, according to new research. The study of Gulf War veterans… Read More

Impulsivity Issues Not Caused by Parkinson’s Disease Itself

PHILADELPHIA — About 20% of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients experience impulse control disorder symptoms, but, according to a new study, the disease itself is not the cause of excessive gambling, shopping or other impulsivity symptoms.1 In fact, untreated Parkinson’s patients… Read More

Alzheimer’s Disease Affected by Diet’s Fat Content

SEATTLE — Diet appears to have some influence on the levels of proteins and peptides related to development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study led by researchers from the VA’s Puget Sound Healthcare System.1 The report, published online by… Read More

VA Recognized for Providing Equal Care for LGBT Veterans

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – VHA facilities were recognized for their efforts to provide equal treatment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients in VHA facilities in a newly released annual report. The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) 2013 survey,… Read More

From Games to New Drug Therapies: VA Improving Mobility for MS Patients

By Annette M. Boyle BALTIMORE – Veterans with multiple sclerosis soon might find that having fun helps retain or improve mobility. A recent study published in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair found that home use of the Nintendo Wii… Read More

VA’s MOVE! Program Touted as Model for Combating Diabetes, Obesity

By Stephen Spotswood ATLANTA – Can lifestyle changes be achieved in a large-scale healthcare setting, with patients maintaining improvement over several years? An Emory University study of VA’s Managing Obesity and Overweight Veterans Everywhere! (MOVE!) program suggests that they can.… Read More

VA Promoting Hundreds of Initiatives to Improve Healthcare for LGBT Veterans

By Annette M. Boyle ST. LOUIS — In an effort to meet the healthcare needs of a traditionally underserved veteran population, VA is launching 500 initiatives to promote a welcoming and inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)… Read More

DoD Ahead of Curve on Emerging Respiratory Syndrome in Middle East

Annette M. Boyle SILVER SPRING, MD – While no cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have occurred in the United States or among U.S. servicemembers, DoD is taking no chances on missing any cases – and can take… Read More

With Wars’ End, Human-Use Protocol Approved for Acinetobacter Antibiotic

By Brenda L. Mooney BETHESDA, MD – After years of red tape, the military finally has received approval to proceed with the human-use protocol for Arbekacin, an antibiotic shown in laboratory tests to be effective against multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens… Read More

VA Changes Gulf War Illness Committee’s Charter; Critics Call Actions ‘Retaliatory’

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – VA’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses has been at the center of a controversy over its role, governance and makeup. In June, Robert Jesse, MD, PhD, VA’s principal deputy under secretary… Read More

VA Facilities Now Must Follow State Rules on Reportable Diseases

By Sandra Basu Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), chairman of the HOuse Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations WASHINGTON – As Congress considers legislation to require VA medical facilities to follow reportable infectious disease laws in the state… Read More

Concentrated Insulin Effective Alternative for Some Diabetic Veterans

TAMPA, FL – Because U-500 concentrated regular insulin is five times more concentrated (500 units/1 mL) than the more commonly prescribed U-100 insulin (100 units/1 mL), fewer injections are required, which may result in improved adherence and patient satisfaction. Researchers… Read More

VA’s E-Consultation Equals In-Person Endocrinologist Care

HOUSTON — To improve specialty care accessibility, the Michael E. DeBakey VAMC (MEDVAMC) in Houston began the Diabetes Mellitis Electronic Consultation Service (DMECS) to provide specialty recommendations about diabetes care to primary care physicians (PCPs). The E-consultation, which is done… Read More

Reasons for Poor Diabetes Control in Patients Receiving VA Care

ATLANTA — Poor diabetes control with HbA1c levels exceeding 9% is a common problem, even at the VA where 20% of all patients with diabetes fall into that category despite established care. Noting that “most poorly controlled patients improve on… Read More