Clinical Topics

Dietary Changes Show Promise in Slowing MS Progression

PHILADELPHIA – Emerging evidence suggests that diet and vascular risk factors including obesity and hyperlipidemia may influence progression of multiple sclerosis. A poster presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology sought to determine the compliance… Read More

What Causes High Incidence of Falls in MS Patients?

PORTLAND, OR – Multiple sclerosis patients have a high incidence of falls with research indicating that more than 50% of them fall in a three- to six-month period and around 30% to 50% fall multiple times. Because those falls can… Read More

Remote Evaluation Possible for MS Patients

WASHINGTON – Traveling to VA testing centers can be difficult for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. What if, instead, the testing could be done remotely? That’s what a study led by researchers from the Washington DC VAMC sought to find out.… Read More

COPD, Asthma or Both? Navigating Landmines in Correct Diagnosis, Treatment

COPD, Asthma or Both? Navigating Landmines in Correct Diagnosis, Treatment

By Annette M. Boyle CHICAGO – Your patient presents with wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Is it asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or both? The diagnosis and decision about treatment are not so simple, however. In fact, they… Read More

Better Treatments Sought for Bacteria Colonization in COPD Patients

Better Treatments Sought for Bacteria Colonization in COPD Patients

Symptoms Increase, Worsening Quality of Life By Annette M. Boyle BUFFALO, NY – Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) commonly have bacteria in their lungs. This has been considered inconsequential except during exacerbations, but now it seems that those… Read More

No Higher Breast Cancer Rates Among Transgender Veterans

JOHNSON CITY, TN – Consistent with past European studies, new research from the Mountain Home VAMC suggests that transgender (TG) veterans have no higher rates of breast cancer than others. The study, published recently in the journal Breast Cancer Research… Read More

Biology Blamed for Later-Stage Breast Cancer in Black Women

SAN DIEGO – African-American women present with more aggressive breast tumors and at later stages than white women. Many factors have been proposed to explain these findings, including socioeconomic status, cultural beliefs and access to medical care. A new military… Read More

More Breast Cancer Patients Opt for Mastectomy Than Previously

NASHVILLE – Many more breast cancer patients now opt for mastectomy, including removal of both breasts, instead of choosing breast conservation surgery (BCS), even with early-stage disease confined to one breast, according to a new study. The rates of increase… Read More

Pharmacist Role Expanded with Success in Managing Polypharmacy Patients

Pharmacist Role Expanded with Success in Managing Polypharmacy Patients

FALLS CHURCH, VA – The DoD has successfully reversed a trend toward increased use of opioids by engaging pharmacists in oversight and management of polypharmacy patients in Warrior Transition Units.

Opioid Prescribing Showed Great Variance Across VHA

IOWA CITY, IA – Opioid prescribing dramatically increased at the VHA during an eight year period ending in 2012 but demonstrated wide variation in prevalence and incident rates across geographical region, sex and age groups. Prevalence and incidence rates reflect… Read More

How Medical Marijuana Laws Affect Opioid Mortality

PHILADELPHIA – Could wider use of medical marijuana reduce mortality from opioid analgesic overdose? That question is raised by a study published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine.1 Noting that opioid analgesic overdose mortality continues to rise in the United States, driven… Read More

Direct Visual Observation Therapy Relieves Phantom-Limb Pain

BETHESDA, MD – With as many as one-third of unilateral=limb amputees suffering regularly from phantom limb pain, military medicine has been in search of an inexpensive and effective treatment. A study published recently in the Annals of Clinical and Translational… Read More

VA Tackles Obesity Paradox:

VA Tackles Obesity Paradox:

Why Do Overweight Patients Live Longer with Heart Failure?
Now the leading cause of hospital admissions in the VA Health Care System, heart failure is associated with high mortality rates and poor quality of life.

New VA Initiative Battles Excesses of ‘Tight Glucose Control’ Trend

New VA Initiative Battles Excesses of ‘Tight Glucose Control’ Trend

Effort Seeks to Reduce Hypoglycemia in Older Veterans
WASHINGTON – At the beginning of the 21st century, tight glucose control for patients with type 2 diabetes was all the rage.

Women Veterans Have Higher Prevalence of Arthritis than Male Colleagues

Women Veterans Have Higher Prevalence of Arthritis than Male Colleagues

DURHAM, NC – While the commitment to physical fitness demanded of active duty forces can keep many ailments at bay, the rigors of service also bring an increased risk of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, especially for young women entering (and exiting) the military.

Test Strip Overuse Common with Dual Benefits

PITTSBURGH – Veterans who double dip benefits, receiving glucose test strips through both the VA and Medicare, use more strips and are more likely to potentially overuse the measurement devices, according to a new study. “These results illustrate the profound… Read More

Insomnia Doubles Risk of Chronic Diseases in Servicemembers

BETHESDA, MD – Chronic insomnia doubles the risk of developing hypertension and type 2 diabetes in servicemembers compared to military personnel who have not been diagnosed with that sleep problem. That’s according to a report in Medical Surveillance Monthly Report… Read More

Mindfulness Training Helps Vets with Diabetes

PITTSBURGH – Veterans who participated in mindfulness training lowered their diabetes-related distress and glucose levels while improving their self-management of the disease, according to a new study. The training included focused breathing and awareness training, according to the research presented… Read More

With More Women in Military, the ‘Great Imitator’ Often Challenges Health Providers

With More Women in Military, the ‘Great Imitator’ Often Challenges Health Providers

Lupus Diagnoses Have Risen Significantly
BETHESDA, MD – As the fictional team of physicians attempted to identify mysterious conditions season after season, TV’s Dr. Gregory House often assured them, “It’s not lupus — It’s never lupus.” But in recent years, many DoD physicians have found that it is lupus — it’s increasingly lupus.

TBI Raises Dementia Risk More Than Other Trauma

SAN FRANCISCO – Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has a higher association with increased risk of dementia in older adults than other types of trauma, a recent study found. Past studies have conflicted on whether a single TBI increases risk of… Read More