August 2017

VA Researcher Works to Find Improved Therapies for Esophageal Cancer

VA Researcher Works to Find Improved Therapies for Esophageal Cancer

By Stephen Spotswood BALTIMORE—James Donahue, MD, has been thinking about the need for better treatments for cancer his entire adult life. His mother died from breast cancer when he was 14, and from that day forward his course has been… Read More

Is Aspirin Really a Wonder Drug for Cardiovascular Prevention?

Is Aspirin Really a Wonder Drug for Cardiovascular Prevention?

VA Researcher Questions Daily Use of Drug in Many Patients By Brenda L. Mooney GAINESVILLE, FL—Since the mid-1980s, aspirin has been used as a preventive drug for cardiovascular disease. In fact, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says that… Read More

Leukemia Often Is Preceded by Mediastinal Germ Cell Tumors

OKLAHOMA CITY—While the association between mediastinal germ cell tumors (MGCT) and acute megakaryoblastic (M7) leukemia has been known for many years, the relationship is not always fully understood. To remedy that, a study team including researchers from the Oklahoma City… Read More

Intravenous Iron Replacement Creates More Safety Issues

INDIANAPOLIS—Anemia in chronic kidney disease is common, and iron deficiency is an important cause of anemia in chronic kidney disease, but what is the best way to replace the iron needed to repair it? A study published in the journal Hemodialysis… Read More

Study Looks for Patterns in Lymphoma Relapse

PORTLAND, OR—High response rates can be achieved with first-line high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) based regimens for primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL), but many patients relapse within two years of diagnosis, according to a study in the journal Fluids and Barriers… Read More

E-consults Drive Increased Involvement of VA Infectious Disease Specialists

E-consults Drive Increased Involvement of VA Infectious Disease Specialists

By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON—VA physicians in facilities across New England increasingly turn to infectious disease specialists at the VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS) with questions about antibiotic resistance, Lyme disease and other issues, but the rise in demand has… Read More

Expedited ART Significantly Lowers Viral Load in HIV Patients

Expedited ART Significantly Lowers Viral Load in HIV Patients

By Brenda L. Mooney BETHESDA, MD—When it comes to treating acute HIV infection, sooner is better, noted a new study led by U.S. military researchers. The study, published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society, compared viral load in… Read More

To the Editor-in-Chief:

In reference to: “Mail Order Pharmacy Policies Put Nearly Half of Veterans with HIV at Risk of Missing Doses” published online for U.S. Medicine in July 2017: The recent U.S. Medicine on-line article by Annette M. Boyle entitled “Mail Order… Read More

Law Requires Reconsideration of Mustard Gas Claims by WWII Veterans

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump signed a bill directing VA and DoD to reconsider and make new determinations for all previously denied claims for benefits related to exposure to mustard gas or lewisite, a compound used as a chemical… Read More

VA Heart Failure Clinic Reduces Readmission Rates Nearly 85%

VA Heart Failure Clinic Reduces Readmission Rates Nearly 85%

By Annette M. Boyle LOS ANGELES—Appropriate and consistent use of medications markedly slows the progression of heart failure and reduces its mortality. Despite the clear benefits of medication, the number of heart failure patients who are nonadherent remains stubbornly high,… Read More

Not Enough Veterans Get Folic Acid With Methotrexate

SAN FRANCISCO—Co-prescription of folic acid in patients receiving low dose oral methotrexate (MTX) is recommended because it reduces adverse events and prolongs the use of the drug. A study on PLOS One suggests, however, that not enough is known about… Read More

PsA Patients Not at Increased Risk of Mortality, Except for Suicide

PHILADELPHIA—What are the common causes of mortality in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) compared with the general population and compared with patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? A report in the journal Rheumatology (Oxford) provided some answers.1 A study team including… Read More

Psoriatic Arthritis, Psoriasis Patients Have Increased Fracture Risks

PHILADLPHIA—Broken bones can be a risk for patients with psoriatic arthritis, (PsA) according to a study that looked at the risk of fracture and osteoporosis among patients with that condition and with psoriasis, compared with the general population and patients… Read More

Will Review of VA’s Capital Assets Be Return of BRAC?

Will Review of VA’s Capital Assets Be Return of BRAC?

The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has called for a “top-to-bottom review” of all VHA capital assets.

VA Says It Has Funding to Begin New EHR Implementation

VA Says It Has Funding to Begin New EHR Implementation

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—VA officials sought to reassure lawmakers that, while the price tag of its new EHR has not been determined, the proposed FY 2018 budget includes funds to begin the project. The agency plans to ask for any… Read More

DoD Policies Ensure Sufficient Yellow Fever Vaccine Despite Global Shortage

DoD Policies Ensure Sufficient Yellow Fever Vaccine Despite Global Shortage

In mid-2016, Sanofi Pasteur announced that manufacturing issues could produce a YF-VAX shortage that might last for several months.

Is Aspirin Really a Wonder Drug for Cardiovascular Prevention?

Is Aspirin Really a Wonder Drug for Cardiovascular Prevention?

Since the mid-1980s, aspirin has been used as a preventive drug for cardiovascular disease. In fact, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says that about 40% of American adults over 50 currently take a daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks or strokes.

PTSD Combined With Some Medications Dramatically Increases Dementia Risk

PTSD Combined With Some Medications Dramatically Increases Dementia Risk

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appears to increase the risk of dementia in veterans but exactly why remains unclear: Is the increased risk attributable to frequent comorbidities such as diabetes and traumatic brain injury or to medications used to treat PTSD or to other factors?

VA Makes Public List of Adverse Actions Against Employees

With persistent questions of accountability and transparency dogging VA in recent years, the agency became the first federal agency to post public information on disciplinary actions taken against employees.

“Take time for all things: Great haste makes great waste.” Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

“Take time for all things: Great haste makes great waste.” Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Following the news on the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, euphemistically known as Obamacare, is akin to watching a train wreck in slow motion.