February 2013

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~Nelson Mandela I have been reflecting on the Second Amendment to the Constitution of… Read More

Navy and Marines Crack Down on Alcohol Misuse with Widespread Screening

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — If Navy leadership has anything to do with it, the misleading stereotype of the drunken sailor or hard-drinking Marine will fade into the past. Though Navy officials note that their alcohol-abuse problems are no greater… Read More

VA’s Shorter Hospital Stays Didn’t Create Higher Readmissions

By Brenda L. Mooney WASHINGTON — When it comes to hospital stays, longer is not necessarily better in reducing 30-day readmission rates. That’s according to a review of records for the more than 4 million patients hospitalized at 129 acute… Read More

DoD Now Will Fund Abortions in Pregnancies from Rape, Incest

By Sandra Basu “After three decades of a policy that discriminated against women who put their lives on the line of duty for us, I’m proud of my colleagues in both houses of Congress and of both parties who are… Read More

By Heart Disease Measures, Current Troops Might Be Healthier Than Ever

Annette M. Boyle Maj. Bryant Webber, MD BETHESDA, MD — Despite concerns about unhealthy lifestyles and rising obesity among recruits, the U.S. military might be in better shape than ever, as measured by cardiovascular disease markers. That’s according to a… Read More

Exercise Plus Statins for Heart Disease: Determining How Much Is Too Much

Annette M. Boyle “…low-fit patients who were not taking statins had 2 to 2.5 times the risk of the patients in the highest fit group who were not on statins.” — Peter Kokkinos, PhD, Director, LIVe Program, Washington DC VAMC… Read More

Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Placed Heavy Burden on Active-Duty Medical Services

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — How much burden have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan put on the military healthcare system?  A recent report suggests the effects have been significant and they will not end anytime soon. Since the beginning… Read More

DoD, VA Seek Earlier Joint EHR Rollout

By Sandra Basu Then-Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki WASHINGTON — Then-Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki asked for a plan to speed up integration of electronic health… Read More

Alpha Blockers Tested as Potential Treatment for PTSD Symptoms

By Stephen Spotswood Col. Kris Peterson, Chief of the Psychiatry Department at Madigan, Tammy Williams, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Dr. Murray Raskind of the Puget Sound VA, want to help soldiers deal with combative nightmares. Photo by Melissa Renahan… Read More

Navy Works to Clean Up Problems with “Bath Salts,” Other Misused Designer Drugs

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — A new Navy Medicine public service announcement depicts a sailor snorting white powder, suffering disturbing hallucinations, then becoming violent. He eventually ends up in the hospital where he appears to have a seizure while medical… Read More

Creation of New Burn Pit Registry Applauded by Veterans’ Groups

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Veterans’ groups are applauding a new law creating an Open Burn Pit Registry, which was passed by Congress over the VA’s objections. In 2004, smoke billows in from all sides as Sgt. Richard Ganske, 84th… Read More

Award-Winning Assistance Adviser Fulfills Life Goal of Helping Vets

By Steve Lewis MADISON, WI — At age 21, Jeffrey Unger said he already had a clear vision of what would become one of his lifelong goals — to help returning veterans get the care they needed. “In my life… Read More

Air Force Pharmacy Uses Survey to Track Energy Drink Consumption

“People think that if something is available over the counter, [then] it’s safe. That’s not necessarily true. Any product with caffeine will increase respiration and heart rate, and its diuretic effects can cause dehydration.” — Lt. Col. Nicholas Milazzo, chief… Read More

Rates of Meningococcal Disease in Military Plummet

SAN DIEGO — Meningococcal disease among U.S. military personnel plummeted by more than 90% from 1971 to 2010 because of the introduction of three successive vaccines during the time period, according to a new study.1 That means that the rate… Read More

Right Amount of Information Affects Vaccine Rates

HINES, IL — Receiving appropriate amounts of information from valid sources may affect adherence to infection control recommendations during pandemics, according to researchers from the Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Hines, IL, VAMC. In a report published in… Read More

Flu Vaccines Equally Effective in Military Population

SAN DIEGO — Trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) were similarly effective in preventing influenza, influenza-like illness and pneumonia in active duty U.S. servicemembers, according to a new study.1 For the report appearing in the journal… Read More

High Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Class-Action Lawsuit Against VA

WASHINGTON — Ending more than five years of litigation on the issue, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling in a class-action lawsuit that claimed VA does not provide mental healthcare in a… Read More

No Elevated Liver Damage in Buprenorphine/Naloxone Trial

SEATTLE — Buprenorphine/naloxone (BUP) and methadone (MET) are effective in treatment of opioid dependence, but some concerns have been raised about a link between the use of BUP and drug-induced hepatitis. A new study from VA Puget Sound Health Care… Read More

Telephone Therapies Helped Elderly Veterans in Pain

Telephone Therapies Helped Elderly Veterans in Pain SAN FRANCISCO — Telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and education (EDU) were helpful in management of chronic pain in older military veterans, according to a new study which calls for further study of… Read More

Compound Provides Noninvasive Battlefield Pain Relief

FORT BRAGG, NC — Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) is a rapid and noninvasive pain-management strategy that provides safe and effective analgesia in the pre-hospital battlefield setting, according to a new study.1 The authors of the report, which appeared in… Read More