Neurology

From Games to New Drug Therapies: VA Improving Mobility for MS Patients

By Annette M. Boyle BALTIMORE – Veterans with multiple sclerosis soon might find that having fun helps retain or improve mobility. A recent study published in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair found that home use of the Nintendo Wii… 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

Study Finds Pain-Related Brain Anomalies in ‘Gulf War Illness’

WASHINGTON — Veterans suffering from “Gulf War Illness” appear to have anomalies in the bundles of nerve fibers that connect brain areas involved in the processing and perception of pain and fatigue — changes not seen in unaffected individuals. Researchers… Read More

FDA Approves Tecfidera for Treatment of Relapsing MS

WESTON, MA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) capsules to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). “No drug provides a cure for multiple sclerosis, so it is important to have a… 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

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

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

New CTE Study Categorizes Stages of Degenerative Brain Disease in Veterans, Athletes

By Brenda L. Mooney BOSTON – For the first time, researchers have categorized chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease associated with repeated brain trauma in military combat and contact sports, into four stages of severity. In a recent… Read More

Single IED Blast Can Cause Degenerative Brain Condition

By Brenda L. Mooney BOSTON — Compelling evidence that a degenerative brain condition can be caused by a single blast, equivalent to a typical improvised explosive device (IED), raises troubling questions about the future healthcare needs of servicemembers returning from… Read More

Chronic Diseases Among Male Veterans Makes Treating MS Even More Complex

By David Beasley SEATTLE–Clinicians who treat the VA’s more than 30,000 multiple sclerosis patients face constant challenges in treating both the mysterious disease as well as the other chronic health conditions which tend to accompany it. “It is a disease… Read More

New Scanning Technology Could Pinpoint TBI Injuries and Aid Recovery

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — New technology could allow clinicians to determine precisely what brain functionality has been lost after traumatic brain injury,  according to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and funded by the… Read More

Innovative VA Program Provides Calm and Supportive Environment for Alzheimer’s Patients and Caregivers

By Annette M. Boyle WILKES-BARRE, PA — For staff and residents, life in a dementia-care unit often becomes a dance of frustration. The constant struggle to interpret the world around them upsets patients; the inability to keep residents from… Read More

VA Neurologist Promotes Routine Use of Screening Tool to Earlier Identify Patients with Dementia

Minneapolis – A routine primary-care visit typically includes weighing-in, blood-pressure monitoring and a body-temperature check. In some cases, the physician may also listen to patients’ heart and breathing rhythms, look down their throats or check their ears. What’s between… Read More

Military Hopes mTBI Care Will Be Improved by On-site MRIs in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — Currently, when troops in Afghanistan suffer a head injury and require magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they generally must be flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. That ordeal may be keeping some servicemembers from reporting symptoms and… Read More

Often Misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s Disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Could Play a Role in Veterans’ Dementia

When Ann McKee, MD, studied the brain tissue of a former offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions and eight-time Pro Bowl player in 2009, she made an important discovery. The football player, who had died from complications associated with dementia… Read More

New Law Creates National Plan to Combat Alzheimer’s

WASHINGTON,DC—For the first time since federal research agencies began conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there is a national plan designed to focus those efforts. Last month, President Obama signed into law a bill creating a National Alzheimer’s Project within… Read More

Mild Brain Trauma Could Have Links to Alzheimer’s

BETHESDA, MD—It was two years ago that Ira Katz, MD, PhD, then chief of VA’s mental health services, told researchers at the VISN 20 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) in Portland, OR, that they should begin focusing… Read More

FDA Approves First Human Clinical Trial Using Stem Cell Therapy

WASHINGTON, DC—FDA gave approval for the world’s first human clinical trial using embryonic stem cell-based therapy this week. The approval went to Geron Corp., a California-based company, which will proceed with its trial of a stem cell therapy to treat… Read More

No Proven Way to Prevent Alzheimer’s Experts Say

BETHESDA, MD—While the last 20 years have provided important insights into the nature and pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitive decline, there is little evidence to support any of the various prevention methods currently being used, a panel of… Read More

June 6 Study Looks at the Earliest Changes in Brain That May Lead to Alzheimer’s

BETHESDA, MD–Volunteers are being sought for a clinical study examining the subtle changes that may take place in the brains of older people many years before overt symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear. Researchers are looking for people with the very… Read More