July 2013

VA Tailors Weight-Loss Programs to Help Young Veterans Maintain Physical Fitness

WASHINGTON – For veterans, one of the riskiest times for weight gain is immediately following discharge. The transition from the active military lifestyle to a relatively sedentary one can be a struggle for former servicemembers who are trying to maintain… Read More

Advocates Seek Better Care for Urotrauma Wounds, Including Fertility Treatments

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Extremity loss, traumatic brain injury and eye injury each have their own DoD center of excellence, but urotrauma has not received the same policy attention and care coordination as those other types of common injuries,… Read More

Survey Seeks to Establish Sexual Trauma Scale Unique to Military

By Stephen Spotswood Deleene Menefee, PhD. HOUSTON – In recent years, DoD officials have admitted publicly that military sexual trauma (MST) is a serious problem among the services, one that’s more widespread than previously recognized. VA, meanwhile, has made efforts… Read More

I wonder if a soldier ever does mend a bullet hole in his coat?

 “A ball had passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through the sleeve and passing through his chest from shoulder to shoulder. There was no more to be done for him and I left him… Read More

VA Study Links Statins to Musculoskeletal Conditions, Injuries

By Brenda L. Mooney DALLAS — Adverse effects from statin therapy go beyond just muscle pain and weakness, also increasing risks of musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies and injuries, according to a new VA study using a large military medical database. The… Read More

Operation Live Well: DoD’s Long-Term Commitment to Medical Readiness

By Jonathon Woodson, MD, assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) and director, TRICARE Management Activity Johnathon Woodson, MD, assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) and director, TRICARE Management Activity Two years ago, the White House issued its National Prevention and… Read More

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Varies in VA by Who Is Providing Care

By Annette M. Boyle Mintu Turakhia, MD PALO ALTO, CA – Cardiologists may overtreat veterans newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter, while primary care physicians may undertreat them, according to research recently published in the American Heart Journal.1… Read More

VA Study: Age Shouldn’t Influence Post-Stroke Treatment

By Annette M. Boyle Neale Chumbler, PhD. ATLANTA — Age shouldn’t be a factor in how patients are treated at the VA after experiencing a stroke. That’s according to a study published recently in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and… Read More

AIDS Research Pioneer Receives International Award

By Steve Lewis Ann Marie Nelson, MD, FASCP BETHESDA, MD – Ann Marie Nelson, MD, FASCP, a senior member of the Joint Pathology Center (JPC) in Bethesda, MD – the federal government’s premier pathology reference center supporting the Military Health… Read More

AF General Named to Head Defense Health Agency in New MHS Governance Model

By Sandra Basu Douglas J. Robb, Air Force Major General WASHINGTON – A new Military Health System governance model expected to be in place by Oct. 1should result in cost savings, according to DoD officials. The new model entails the… Read More

Because of Formulary, VA Spends Far Less on Common Drugs than Medicare

By Brenda L. Mooney Walid Gellad, MD, MPH, of the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion in Pittsburgh PITTSBURGH, PA – Should some aspects of VA’s drug formulary be used as a model for the U.S. Medicare system?… Read More

Furloughs Begin This Month for Thousands of MHS Civilian Employees

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — After months of speculation about whether and when furloughs would go into effect, thousands of DoD civilian employees — including those working in the Military Health System — are expected to feel the brunt of… Read More

Congress Seeks an Easier Path to Benefits for Sexual-Assault Victims

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation relaxing the evidentiary standards that must be met for veterans who file VA benefit claims for mental health conditions linked to military sexual trauma (MST). The Ruth… Read More

VA Data Repeatedly Hacked by Foreign Entities; Officials Defend Security Efforts

By Sandra Basu Stephen Warren, VA’s Office of Information and Technology Acting Assistant Secretary WASHINGTON — Responding to reports that VA computers have been repeatedly hacked since 2010 by foreign entities, a VA official defended the agency’s efforts to protect… Read More

DoD Will Search for Commercial EHR Software, Not Simply Adopt VA System

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – DoD will examine commercial software as the next step in its search for an electronic health record system and not merely adopt the current Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) system used by… Read More

Pain Is Issue for Veterans with Severe Mental Illnesses

ANN ARBOR, MI – Pain complicates treatment and recovery in veterans with serious mental illness, according to a recent study from the VA’s Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center (SMITREC).1 Assessing the rates of chronic, non-cancer pain in… Read More

Fear Circuitry Never Rests in PTSD Patients

NEW YORK – In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferers, brain regions can over- or under-react in response to stressful tasks, such as recalling a traumatic event or reacting to a photo of a threatening face.  Researchers at NYU School of… Read More

Depression Concurrent in Half of PTSD Patients

CLEVELAND – An analysis of 57 peer-reviewed studies representing data on more than 6,600 civilians and servicemembers indicates that about half of those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also suffer symptoms of depression. The analysis from Case Western Reserve University’s… Read More

Lower-Limb Amputee Guideline Improves Care

PROVIDENCE, RI — Did a new joint VA/DoD guideline to standardize and improve rehabilitation of lower-limb amputees have a positive effect on care of those patients? A new study out of the Providence, RI, VAMC and Brown University’s Center for… Read More

Stump Dermatoses Still Plague Vietnam War Amputees

BETHESDA, MD – Nearly four decades after a major-limb amputation, nearly half of Vietnam War veterans reported they continue to suffer stump dermatoses, according to a recent study from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.1 “More than 38… Read More

New Metric Can Track Prosthetic Arm Progress

PROVIDENCE, RI – A new, standardized measurement can help clinicians assess the effectiveness of teaching and learning for adults with prosthetics after upper-limb amputations. The tool, the Activities Measure for Upper-Limb Amputees (the AM-ULA), was described in an article published… Read More

Oral Treatment for Opioid-Induced Constipation Approved

DEERFIELD, IL – Lubiprostone, marketed as Amitiza by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its partner Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the first oral treatment for opioid-induced constipation in adults with chronic… Read More