Clinical Topics

Danger of Pneumonia Increases with Veterans’ Worsened Health Status

Danger of Pneumonia Increases with Veterans’ Worsened Health Status

Higher Pneumonia Vaccine Rates Urged By Brenda L. Mooney PROVIDENCE, RI – With influenza season each year comes an even greater challenge for VA hospitals — a spate of pneumonia cases in older veterans. Recent research suggests the problem will… Read More

Partnerships, Drive-Throughs Seek to Increase Veterans’ Flu Immunization

Partnerships, Drive-Throughs Seek to Increase Veterans’ Flu Immunization

Free Shots Available at Walgreen’s Locations By Annette M. Boyle SAN FRANCISCO – The VA typically has influenza vaccination rates well above the national average but is trying some innovative measures to do even better. As part of the effort to increase immunizations,… Read More

New Treatments Offer More Options, Fewer Side Effects for HIV-Infected Veterans

New Treatments Offer More Options, Fewer Side Effects for HIV-Infected Veterans

Clinicians Find Advances ‘Mind-Boggling’ By Annette M. Boyle ATLANTA – Therapeutic options for patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continue to expand, enabling more veterans to begin treatment with fewer adverse side effects and far less complicated regimens than even… Read More

Despite High Costs, VA Makes Sure Veterans Have Access to Newest HCV Drugs

Despite High Costs, VA Makes Sure Veterans Have Access to Newest HCV Drugs

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – While commercial insurers responded to the approval of the breakthrough drug sofosbuvir for hepatitis C (HCV) by implementing prescribing restrictions, limiting use to the sickest patients and charging higher co-pays because of the drug’s… Read More

Allopurinol Reduces Death Rate in Gout Patients

BOSTON – Despite fears of a rare but potentially fatal adverse reaction with use of allopurinol, the drug modestly reduces risk of death in patients with hyperuricemia and gout, according to a recent study. The article, published recently in The… Read More

Canakinumab Is Option for Patients Intolerant of Other Therapy

SAN DIEGO – Treating gouty arthritis is problematic in patients who have contraindications for, or are unresponsive or intolerant of, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or colchicine. A new study has found, however, that canakinumab (CAN), a selective, fully human, anti-IL-1β… Read More

High Serum Uric Acid Associated with AF

High Serum Uric Acid Associated with AF MIAMI – What is the relationship between atrial fibrillation (AF) and high serum uric acid (SUA)? Noting that AF is related to oxidative stress, neurohormonal activation and inflammatory activation and that SUA is… Read More

Agent Orange-Related Non-Melanotic Skin Cancer Still Affects Veterans

HOUSTON – Decades later, exposure to Agent Orange puts Vietnam War veterans at high risk for certain types of skin cancer. That’s according to a report published earlier this year in Find Your Surgeon Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official… Read More

Consensus Report Touts Lasers for Scar Treatment

BOSTON – Patients with disfiguring and debilitating scars suffer poor cosmetic outcomes, restricted motion, pain and itching, despite traditional therapy such as expert wound care. A consensus report published earlier this year in JAMA Dermatology discusses a breakthrough within the… Read More

Skin Cancer Risk High During Deployment

NASHVILLE – Military personnel deployed abroad in climates such as Afghanistan and Iraq have increased risk factors for skin cancer, according to a new study. The increased risk is especially present when servicemembers serve in tropical and sunny climates, according… Read More

Pain Is a Growing Issue for Troops and Veterans; Safer Remedies Sought

Pain Is a Growing Issue for Troops and Veterans; Safer Remedies Sought

WASHINGTON – Trauma-related pain – both acute and chronic — has always been a universal problem among war-injured troops.

Evolution of Pioneer DCVAMC Clinic Tracks AIDS/HIV Treatment Through the Years

Evolution of Pioneer DCVAMC Clinic Tracks AIDS/HIV Treatment Through the Years

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – When the first Infectious Disease Clinic took place at the Washington, DC, VAMC in 1985, only a handful of HIV-infected patients took advantage. In fact, the disease hadn’t even been named “human immunodeficiency virus;” that… Read More

Computer Model: HCV, Associated Cancer Will Be Rare by 2036

Computer Model: HCV, Associated Cancer Will Be Rare by 2036

By Brenda L. Mooney PITTSBURGH – Will hepatitis C become a rare disease over the next two decades or so? The answer is yes, according to a computer simulation conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health… Read More

Then and Now: VA Innovates in Epilepsy Treatment and Evaluation

Then and Now: VA Innovates in Epilepsy Treatment and Evaluation

By Annette M. Boyle ALBUQUERQUE – The VA has played a critical role in advancing epilepsy research since 1969, when the first VA unit to study epilepsy — and the first comprehensive epilepsy program in the country — opened in… Read More

VA’s Home-Based Care Program Reduces Hospitalization for Diabetes, Other Conditions

By Brenda L. Mooney BOSTON – When it comes to providing care to older patients with co-existing diabetes and other chronic illnesses, everything old is new again at the VA. A program offering old-fashioned house calls is showing promise in reducing… Read More

Discharge to Deployment: Military Diabetes Management Changes Over 50 Years

Discharge to Deployment: Military Diabetes Management Changes Over 50 Years

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – In 1964, a diagnosis of diabetes led to immediate discharge from the Army. Today, soldiers with well-managed diabetes can continue to have long and successful military careers. “With the increased understanding of diabetes and… Read More

Military Brings Treatment Closer to Troops to Combat Growing Depression Issues

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Recent military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have put the spotlight not only on PTSD and TBI, but also on depression, which often co-exists with both conditions. “The previously rising suicide rate [in the Army]… Read More

Complexity, Lack of Approved Therapies Challenges PTSD, TBI Treatment

Complexity, Lack of Approved Therapies Challenges PTSD, TBI Treatment

WASHINGTON – When the American Psychiatric Association first added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980, it was quite controversial.

VA’s COPD Knowledge, Treatment Improving, But Still ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

VA’s COPD Knowledge, Treatment Improving, But Still ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is sometimes referred to as the “quiet” or “silent” killer by clinicians trying to treat it. It presents few symptoms in its earliest stages and so is often not diagnosed… Read More

VA, DoD Remain on Front Lines in Ongoing War Against Cancer

VA, DoD Remain on Front Lines in Ongoing War Against Cancer

FORT LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA – The DoD’s leadership in cancer research started accidentally, but funding from Congress has ensured that both the Army and VA have remained on the front lines in the war on cancer during the past 50 years.