February 2014

DoD Partners with Industry to Produce Own Bioterrorism Countermeasures

DoD Partners with Industry to Produce Own Bioterrorism Countermeasures

WASHINGTON — For the first time, DoD is partnering with an outside company to build a facility to manufacture countermeasures to fight bioterrorism and other medical threats.

Lawmakers ‘Shocked’ by Surgical Implant Vendor Role in Patient Care

Lawmakers ‘Shocked’ by Surgical Implant Vendor Role in Patient Care

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Lawmakers expressed alarm at a government report that vendor representatives were involved directly in the application of skin grafts at a VA medical center and demanded more oversight of the use, tracking and procurement of… Read More

Greater Pharmacist Intervention Tested to Increase Anticoagulant Adherence Rates

Greater Pharmacist Intervention Tested to Increase Anticoagulant Adherence Rates

By Annette M. Boyle PALO ALTO, CA — Medication is only effective if taken, yet how to make sure patients maintain adherence with anticoagulants and many other long-term medications for chronic diseases poses one of the greatest dilemmas for healthcare… Read More

Controversy Surrounds FDA Approval of New Opioid Analgesic

SAN DIEGO — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new opioid analgesic but not without controversy. In approving Zohydro ER (hydrocodone bitartrate extended-release capsules), the FDA went against an 11-2 recommendation by a panel of outside experts to… Read More

FDA Allows Marketing of First Device for Migraine Headache Pain

SUNNYVALE, CA — For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration is allowing marketing of a device to relieve pain caused by migraine headaches that are preceded by an aura. The device, the Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS), is… Read More

New SGLT2 Inhibitor Approved to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

WASHINGTON — A new sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor has been approved to treat type 2 diabetes. The Food and Drug Administration approved Farxiga (dapaglifozin) tablets to improve glycemic control, along with diet and exercise, in adults. Farxiga is marketed… Read More

Unspecified Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis Significantly Decreases Treatment for Veterans

Unspecified Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis Significantly Decreases Treatment for Veterans

HOUSTON — About 40% of veterans with anxiety disorders receive a “placeholder” diagnosis that often remains with them indefinitely — and dramatically reduces the likelihood they ever will receive appropriate care, according to a new study.

How Prescribers Discuss Opioid Use/Abuse with Patients

INDIANAPOLIS — From press reports, it might seem that everyone is talking about opioid analgesics. The question that VA researchers set out to answer, however, is how prescribers were discussing use of the pain relievers with their patients. A pilot… Read More

Opioid Use Raises Depression Risk in Veterans

ST. LOUIS, MO — The chronic use of opioid analgesics is linked to an increase in the risk of developing major depression, according to a review of veterans’ medical records. The study, led by Saint Louis University researchers, was published… Read More

DNA Used to Predict Amputee’s Pain Levels

SAN FRANCISCO — Researchers now are able to predict which wounded servicemembers are likely to develop persistent, chronic pain after amputation based on variants in their individual DNA sequence. The report on the medical advancement, led by researchers from Duke… Read More

Building the VA Healthcare System of the Future

By Robert A. Petzel, M.D., Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs The Affordable Care Act has ushered in a new era of choice in healthcare coverage for many Americans, including the men and women who’ve served our nation… Read More

VHA Seeks to Expand Telepharmacy’s Reach in 2014

By Sandra Calenda, PharmD, CACP; Chasitie Levesque, PharmD; Julie Groppi PharmD, CDE; Helen Kasimatis, PharmD; Donna Leslie, PharmD History of Telepharmacy The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, focuses on patient centered &… Read More

Military Sexual Assault Reforms Stop Short of Bypassing Command Structure

Military Sexual Assault Reforms Stop Short of Bypassing Command Structure

WASHINGTON — Signaling their disapproval of the state of sexual-assault prevention and prosecution in the military, lawmakers approved legislation containing more than 30 provisions or reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice aimed at addressing sexual assault in the military.

With New Apps, Counseling Clients Can Use Smartphones to Help Themselves

With New Apps, Counseling Clients Can Use Smartphones to Help Themselves

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON —Helping patients learn to do diaphragmatic breathing as a way to control anxiety and anxious symptoms is much easier, thanks to technology. A mobile application, Breathe2Relax, has a self-contained tool to teach diaphragmatic breathing, David C.… Read More

Military Sleep Disorders Raise Diabetes Risk

SEATTLE — Insomnia and other sleep disorders plaguing military servicemembers and veterans could be an independent risk factor for developing diabetes, not just a symptom of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new study. The study, led… Read More

VA Study Finds Mortality Greater with Some Diabetes Drugs

SEATTLE — How do oral hypoglycemic medications for type 2 diabetes affect overall mortality? Concerned that few studies had been done on the drugs’ comparative safety, researchers from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle sought to answer… Read More

Arthroplasty for Younger Diabetics Predicted to Increase

DENVER — A new VA study raises the specter of growing demand for joint arthroplasty by younger patients with diabetes. The report, based on research conducted at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver and the VA Medical… Read More

VA, Army Clinicians Rapidly Increase Prescribing of Novel Anticoagulants

VA, Army Clinicians Rapidly Increase Prescribing of Novel Anticoagulants

WASHINGTON — Use of novel anticoagulants has risen sharply both at the VA and in the Army in the last three years, freeing more atrial fibrillation patients from food restrictions and regular checks for coagulation time, as required when using warfarin.

Female Veterans Develop CVD Risk Factors at Younger Ages

Female Veterans Develop CVD Risk Factors at Younger Ages

By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON — During the past 15 years, female veterans have developed risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) at ever-younger ages, challenging many providers’ concept of the population at risk for heart disease. “Historically, the focus in… Read More

Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda...

Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda…

“‎Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.” ― Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) I am presently reading “Thomas Jefferson – The Art of Power” by Jon… Read More