March 2013

It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has

Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA. It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.  – Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) Hippocrates, known to… Read More

Many Servicemembers Sleep Less than Five Hours a Night

By Brenda L. Mooney TACOMA, WA – Short sleep duration (SSD) is widespread among active-duty military personnel, with more than 40% of the subjects in a recent study reporting less than five hours a sleep per night. The mean self-reported home… Read More

Veterans’ Suicide Rates Going Up Despite Efforts to Address Mental Health Issues

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Despite efforts to stem the tide of suicides among current and former military personnel, new reports suggest the number of veterans and active-duty servicemembers taking their own lives is going up, not down, as officials had… Read More

Rabies Exposure Reports Skyrocket in Theater After Army Cracks Down on Pets

By Annette M. Boyle ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD – While adopting a stray dog or a wild monkey might seem to be a relatively harmless way to boost a military unit’s morale, in countries such as Afghanistan, a nip or… Read More

Surprises in MS Incidence Study Among Gulf War Era Veterans

WASHINGTON – How common is multiple sclerosis among U.S. military personnel and veterans from the Gulf War era? A study led by researchers from the Washington, DC, VAMC and the VA Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence in Baltimore sought to… Read More

Higher Rates of Chronic Diseases in Males Veterans with MS

HINES, IL – Male veterans with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, coronary heart disease and stroke than the general population. That’s according to a study from the Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care… Read More

Gingko Biloba Shown to Not Help Cognitive Issues in MS

PORTLAND, OR – It might be a case of wishful thinking, but many multiple sclerosis patients use the natural supplement Gingko biloba in hopes that it will help counteract the cognitive problems that appear in half of those with the… Read More

Male Veterans with COPD At High Risk of Bone Disease

By Annette M. Boyle LOMA LINDA, CA – A pair of new studies shows a very high prevalence of bone disease among male veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other pulmonary illnesses, raising the question of whether more… Read More

New Research Suggests Dust Could Be Critical Factor in Respiratory Disease Among Deployed Troops

By Annette M. Boyle STONY BROOK, NY – Research presented this month at the Second Annual Scientific Symposium on Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan indicates that some of the lung disease seen in returning warriors may be… Read More

VA on Defensive with Five Possible Deaths from Pittsburgh Legionnaires’ Outbreak

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Lawmakers are demanding answers from VA in the wake of a national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that as many as five veterans may have died over the past two years from… Read More

Parkinson’s: A Network of Care within the Veterans Healthcare System

By Robert L. Ruff, MD, PhD, and Patricia G. Banks, RN, MSNEd, CCRP Louis Stokes Cleveland Veteran Affairs Medical Center BACKGROUND In 2001, the VA began the process of enhancing services for the approximately 40,000 veterans afflicted with Parkinson’s disease,… Read More

Accelerated Plan for Joint VA/DoD Health Record Upsets Legislators

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – A new VA and DoD scheme to deliver a shared electronic health record solution faster than originally planned is drawing the ire of federal lawmakers. While the agencies originally had planned to build a single… Read More

So-Called ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ Also Affecting Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – Servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are exhibiting symptoms consistent with chronic multisymptom illness (CMI), formerly known as Gulf War Syndrome, according to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine (IoM). The report –… Read More

VA Sponsors Contest to Find Best Possible Scheduling Software

By Stephen Spotswood Washington – Many of the changes at VA over the last several years have been in furtherance of resource management—finding ways to more efficiently use the money, facilities, and healthcare resources provided to them. This includes one… Read More

Surgeon Recognized for New Technique Says He ‘Owes’ It to Veteran Patients

By Steve Lewis Carlos Bechara, MD HOUSTON – Carlos Bechara, MD, a staff vascular surgeon at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) says his recent development of a new endovascular technique that offers an attractive alternative to the… Read More

Army Seeks to Improve Troop Resilience as Suicides Increase

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Against the backdrop of an uptick in suicides in its ranks, the Army announced that it is developing a campaign to increase mental health resilience among troops. Secretary of the Army John McHugh said he… Read More

Low Vitamin D Levels May Be Predictive of Breast Cancer Risk

SAN DIEGO — Low serum vitamin D levels in the months preceding diagnosis may predict a high risk of premenopausal breast cancer, according to a prospective study led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.… Read More

Extended Tamoxifen Treatment Lowers Recurrence, Deaths

SAN ANTONIO – Longer is better when it comes to adjuvant treatment with tamoxifen for women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. That’s according to a recent study finding that, for those patients, continuing tamoxifen to 10 years instead of stopping… Read More

Blast Injury Without TBI Diagnosis Can Affect PTSD Development

By Brenda L. Mooney BUFFALO, NY – Blast injury might be a factor in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by servicemembers in combat, even if mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is never diagnosed. Research published recently in The… Read More