TBI

Telemental Health Services Benefit Native Veterans

 WASHINGTON — After American Indian and Alaska Native veterans initially tried telemental health services, their use of any health services significantly increased, as did the proportion receiving psychotropic medication, a new study found.1 Telemental Health Services is the provision of… Read More

More Funding Requested for Veteran Healthcare – VA Questioned on Acquisition Tracking

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Funding for veteran healthcare continues to increase in the Obama administration’s latest budget proposal, but legislators had some pointed questions about how well VA is tracking its spending for medical supplies and services. The administration’s… Read More

50-Year-Old VA Disability Rating System Just Now Being Fully Revised

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — For more than 50 years, the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) has been the mechanism for determining how much disability compensation is provided to veterans. While the system has seen minor adjustments over time,… Read More

Routinely Used Concussion Screen Less Reliable More than 10 Days after Injury

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — A new study suggests the military’s current screening and diagnostic tool for concussion lacks utility when it is used more than 10 days following an injury. “The current study adds to the body of literature… Read More

Claims Deadline Extended for Undiagnosed Gulf War Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Continuing a pattern of easing the way for Gulf War veterans to seek care and compensation, VA has extended the presumptive period for them to file claims for benefits for previously undiagnosed illnesses. The change… Read More

Is the VA Mental Health Scheduling System Gamed? Senators Seek Audit

WASHINGTON — Frustrated by the numerous reports of veterans unable to receive timely mental healthcare at VA facilities, legislators have called for the VA Office of the Inspector General to conduct a formal audit of wait times. Sen. Patty… Read More

Suicide Rate Drops but Veterans Still Struggle to Get Mental Health Care

WASHINGTON — Reports about suicide prevention constantly focus on the difficulty veterans have in receiving mental healthcare, even though the suicide rate is dropping. In fact, there is little disagreement that the suicide threat is greatly diminished in veterans who… Read More

Mild TBI Remains Little Understood and Hard to Diagnose

BETHESDA, MD — With all of the attention given traumatic brain injury in recent years, it can be easy to forget that this is still a nascent area of medical science. It took six years of fighting in Afghanistan and… Read More

Brain Tsunamis Provide Clues to Prevention of Worsening Outcomes in TBI

Washington — If “brain tsunamis” can be prevented, it may be possible to keep some patients who have sustained a serious head injury from suffering devastating further damage to the brain, according to a new study. Jed Hartings PhD That… Read More

Tackling Combat Trauma Head On Helps Resolve Sleep Disorders

BETHESDA, MD —A problem with insomnia, one of the shared symptoms of TBI and PTSD, sometimes can be overshadowed by what seem to be more serious, immediate symptoms. For those suffering from sleep disorders, however, exhaustion can quickly take over… Read More

VA’s Mental Health Care As Good or Better than Private Sector Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Veterans with mental illness and substance abuse cost nearly three times as much to treat as the average veteran. According to a VA-commissioned study by the RAND Corp. looking at data from one year of care (2007), such… Read More

Senators: VA Not Responding Quickly Enough to Sexual Assault Disability Issues

WASHINGTON–With more than 3,000 servicemembers reporting military sexual assault (MST) just last year and with potentially nine times that many cases unreported during that time period, according to DoD, a lot of victims require VA mental-health services. The problem, according… Read More

Powerful New Scanner Improves Diagnosis, Treatment of TBI, PTSD

WASHINGTON — A cutting-edge scanner that combines a whole-body, simultaneous positron emission topography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could be invaluable in helping them better understand what changes are occurring in the brains of those suffering from TBI and… Read More

Concussions in Pro Football Players Provide Clues to Military TBI Treatment

Head Injury Leading Killer Among All-Americans WASHINGTON — Concerns about the long-term effects of repeated head trauma go far beyond military personnel injured in battlefield blasts. More than 50,000 Americans, most of them civilians, die each year from TBI, according… Read More

VA Tests Innovative Solutions to Veteran Unemployment

WASHINGTON — Unemployment among veterans is higher than the civilian sector, as servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have a difficult time finding a place in the work force. This has legislators attempting to understand the root causes of the… Read More

Troops Severely Injured Outside of War Zones Now Eligible for Payouts

WASHINGTON — Military veterans injured between 2001 and 2005 are now retroactively eligible for traumatic injury benefits, even if they never deployed overseas to battle zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. The benefit also applies to National Guard and Reserve members… Read More

DoD, NIH Partner to Create TBI Research Database

BETHESDA, MD — Recent projects being overseen or funded at NIH hope to shed light on the biology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and give physicians and future researchers better tools to understand, diagnose and treat the condition. TBI Database… Read More

Study: Common Medication Given for PTSD Has No Benefit

WASHINGTON — An antipsychotic medication commonly used by VA to treat combat-related PTSD has been found to have no discernible benefit. Patients taking the drug risperidone (Risperdal) did no better than those taking a placebo, according to a recent VA-run… Read More

Long Wait Times for Mental Health Care Continue to Plague VA

WASHINGTON — Poor coordination and staffing problems were identified as major factors in veterans’ receiving inadequate care at Atlanta VA Medical Center mental-health clinics, according to a VA Inspector General (IG) report released last month. This report is the latest… Read More

Think VA’s Budget Has Grown Rapidly? You May Not Have Seen Anything Yet

VA’s medical-care budget has grown rapidly since 2001 —$27 billion or 130% — but government budget officials suggest that is a minor increase compared to what is coming: the lifetime costs of treating troops who have returned from Iraq and… Read More

Integrative Health Offers Military New Options for Mind-Body Wellness

WASHINGTON — A shortage providers and the perceived stigma attached to mental-health care may prevent troops from seeking services. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can help fill the gaps, according to a recent webinar on integrative health options for military… Read More

Center Uses Cutting-Edge Neuroimaging Techniques to Diagnosis, Treat TBI

With as many as 212,000 servicemembers suffering a TBI over the last decade, military clinicians are searching for the most effective neuroimaging methods to diagnose and treat the injuries.  “Our goal is to improve neuroimaging contribution to the diagnosis and… Read More

White House Report Puts Spotlight on Military, Veteran Drug Abuse

WASHINGTON — A recent report on federal government plans to curb drug abuse puts added emphasis on the active-duty military and the veteran population. It also focuses more attention on misuse of prescription drugs and, as far as recovery efforts… Read More

Study Looks at PTSD’s Effect on War Veterans’ Immune Systems

PTSD could be linked to a compromised immune system in war veterans, according to preliminary results of a study. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina and the Dorn VA Medical Center,  could eventually lead to… Read More